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Hamilton stars as Wilmington defeat Pittsburgh in USL Pro action

Jordan Hamilton got his first professional start on the weekend for the Wilmington Hammerheads. Based on his performance against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds it certainly will not be his last start.

It seems that the LoanSharks have a taste for Riverhound (whatever that is).

Over the weekend the Wilmington Hammerheads took on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in USL Pro action.  It was the second meeting between the two times and for the second time the Hammerheads came away with the full three points thanks to an offensive outburst.

When the two teams met back in April it was a thrilling affair with goals, late drama, and even some scuffles.  In the end, the Hammerheads managed to hang on for the 4-3 win with Dan Lovitz being one of the key players.  Lovitz picked up a goal and an assist in that game and was only overshadowed by the two goal and one assist of former Seattle Sounder Sammy Ochoa.

This time around the game was not nearly as close but once again there was a Toronto FC player in the starring role.  Over the weekend the Hammerheads romped to a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh which pushed their record for the season to 4-1-2 moving them up to fifth in the table with games in hand on all the teams above them.  Through their first seven games of the season Wilmington now has the second highest points per game in USL Pro behind only league leaders Orlando City SC.

Their record continues to improve as the team has started to generate some offence in recent weeks.  After struggling to find the back of the net early in the year the Hammerheads will be hoping their five goals against Pittsburgh are a sign that they have turned the corner.  They have managed to score 9 goals in 2 games against Pittsburgh but only have 2 goals in their other 5 games.

If they are going to start finding the back of the net on a more regular basis they will need the partnership of Ochoa and Jordan Hamilton to click.  They did just that in their first start together as they both found the back of the net in the first 45 minutes.

It took Hamilton less than a minute to find the back of the net in his first professional start.  It was a simple finish as all he had to do was slot the ball home after the Pittsburgh keeper could only parry the low ball into his box right in to the danger zone.  The goal was his second in as many games since making his way in to the Hammerheads lineup.

Only a few minutes later and Hamilton added his first assist of the game.  The goal was almost a mirror image of the Hammerheads first strike but this time it was Hamilton who put the ball in to the six yard area forcing the Riverhounds keeper in to action and once again all he could do was push the ball right on the to foot of an attacker who then had the entire net to choose from.

Hamilton's most impressive involvement of the game would come in the 35th minute when he once again played provider.  Hamilton picked up the ball near the middle of the field and was able to turn past his defender and run in to space.  After winning the footrace and showing some very impressive pace with the ball at his foot Hamilton kept his head up and unselfishly played the ball across to Ochoa who then had a tap in for the team's third goal of the game.  The run and pass were a perfect example of just why Hamilton could be a force in this league with his combination of size, strength, pace, and awareness.

On the whole it was a very impressive performance from Hamilton who will certainly remember his first professional start for all the right reasons.  The game also saw Manuel Aparicio feature as a second half sub but he had little impact on the game in the 23 minutes that he played.

Next up for the Hammerheads is a chance to avenge their only loss so far this season when they take on Charlotte this Saturday.  They will have Quillan Roberts back for that game as the keeper has served his suspension for his red card against Charleston.  He should be back in goal once again as he has impressed for far this season giving up just 5 goals in 6 starts.