A beautiful Tuesday evening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was perfect for the USL Pennsylvania Derby match between the Harrisburg City Islanders (1-1-2) and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2-5-0).
Harrisburg opened the attack in the 14th minute, and had their foot on the pedal the entire match. Andrew Welker pushed the Islanders' attack forward, slicing a through-ball to Sainey Touray, who was running down the right side of the field.
The play was broken up with a last ditch tackle by Riverhound defender Sterling Flunder, but the danger was not over for Pittsburgh. J.T. Noone, an Islander midfielder and former Philadelphia Union player, collected the ball from the tackle, but sailed his one-timer shot over the crossbar.
Hunter Gilstrap’s first major saves, part of the eight he made throughout the game, came in the first half. In the 24th minute, Morgan Langley started the build up in the midfield and took a surprise shot from 35-yards out.
Gilstrap, despite being out of position, was able to recover and tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner. In the 27th minute, another long-range effort from the Islanders was tipped wide.
Welker’s ambitious effort from 30-yards out was heading for the lower left corner and Gilstrap got his fingers to the ball to tip it out for a corner. The corner set piece led to nothing, and the Isles went into the locker room tied with the Riverhounds nil-nil.
Starting off the second half as they did the first, the Isles were full throttle on the attack against the Riverhound goal. The 47th minute brought a goal by Yann Ekra, who knocked in the ball after it bounced around in the penalty area off of a Welker corner.
The goal was disallowed after the center official recognized the assistant's flag raised for offside.
The first real threat to the Islanders’ goal was a perfectly played through ball from Shintaro Harada, a Riverhound midfielder, to Darron Amoo. Nick Noble, the Islander's goalkeeper, came up with a great reaction save on the breakaway to preserve the clean sheet.
Gitstrap earned his man of the match performance with a double save in the 59th minute. The first shot was an eight-yard finesse shot by Drew Yates. As the ball bounced out of the box, Noone hit a laser volley from the top of the 18 yard box and tipped wide by a diving save from Gitstrap.
The center official blew for full time, after three added minutes, to end the derby match at 0-0. The draw ended the Riverhounds’ four match losing streak and the started a two game unbeaten (both ties) streak for the Islanders.
The Islanders next match is Saturday May 19 versus the Dayton Dutch Lions on the Island, and their first US Open Cup match is Tuesday May 22 versus the Long Island Rough Riders of USL-PDL, also on City Island.
HCI: Nick Noble, Stephen Basso, Tom Brandt, Bilan Duckett, ©Jason Pelletier, Adrew Welker (Drew Yates 59’), J.T. Noone (Colin Zizzi 83’), Morgan Langley (Garret Pettis 70’), Brian Ombiji (Tom Mellor 70’), Sainey Touray (Yann Ekra 38’).
PRH: Hunter Gilstrap, Nikola Katic, Sterling Flunder, ©Louis Rolko, Anthony Calvano, Matt Kassel, Richard Costanzo, Seth C’deBaca (Lundberg 64’), Shintaro Harada, Michael Seth (Darren Amoo 46’), Agustin Nunez.
PRH - Darren Amoo (Caution) 85th min