USL PRO Game Report
Saturday, September 6, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Harrisburg City Islanders clinched a place in the USL PRO Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season as they took a 4-2 victory against the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday night at the Queens Sports Complex. Harrisburg fell behind early, but rallied back to move into seventh place in the league standings at the end of Saturday night's action.
There was no lack of battle for either team as both fought for a chance to reach the postseason. The Eagles opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Wells Thompson took a feed from Ben Newnam, carried it down the field and was able to put it past Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble.
The City Islanders hit back shortly after when Charlotte goalkeeper Alec Kann conceded a penalty kick in the 14th minute. Harrsburg's Jimmy McLaughlin took the kick and Kann dove to make a big save, but he couldn’t keep control of the rebound and McLaughlin got to the rebound and put it home to the opposite side of the goal to level the score.
The City Islanders continued to create chances, and put the ball in the back of the net only for an offside flag to deny the finish. Harrisburg took the lead before the break, however, when Jose Barril dribbled the ball right past Charlotte's defense and hammered a shot past Kann in the 39th minute. The Eagles were then reduced to 10 men as Richard Dixon was sent off a minute before halftime.
Jamiel Hardware added to the City Islanders' lead early in the second half when a goal kick by Noble down the field found him, and he took the ball and ran with it. Hardware managed to get away from Eagles' defense and get the ball behind Kann to make it 3-1 in the 48th minute. Kann continued to stay tall despite the number of shots he faced, and made two big saves right around the hour-mark to keep the deficit at two.
Charlotte pulled a goal back in the 71st minute when Harrisburg defender Richie Marquez was called for a handball in the penalty area to give Charlotte a penalty kick. Jorge Herrera stepped up and sent Noble the wrong way, bringing the Eagles within one. Following the Eagles' second goal, the offense picked up and Charlotte was able to keep more possession and gain more quality chances.
The Eagles' hopes of completing a comeback were dashed in the final five minutes, however, when Kann received his second yellow card of the night to reduce Charlotte to nine men as he conceded another penalty kick. Aaron Wheeler stepped up and put his penalty kick past substitute goalkeeper Brock Duckworth as the City Islanders booked their place in the postseason.