(highlights video by Jonathan Willier, @jwillier2)
The Harrisburg City Islanders improved their record to three-for-three verses MLS sides this season by beating the Philadelphia Union 3-2 at Hershey Park Stadium. The friendly took place only two weeks before the two teams are supposed to square off in US Open Cup action at PPL Park.
The first tally on the board was by Garret Pettis, who put his finishing skills to work for the City Islanders in the 17th minute. Harrisburg started the run of play down the left side of the field and after the ball was knocked around by the City Islanders players a few times, Tom Mellor slid the ball into the box twelve yards out.
Pettis touched the ball and shot, giving the City Islanders a 1-0 advantage.
The Union's two newest members, Jorge Perlaza and Michael Lahoud, hooked up to equalize for the visitors in the 41st minute of the match. Perlaza volleyed Lahoud's pass into the top middle of the net, beating the Harrisburg keeper from an odd angle close to the right end-line.
Chris Konopka's first major save for Philadelphia came in the 44th minute. Mellor took a free kick, after a foul was called against the Union around 25 yards away from the net on the right side.
Mellor's shot was hit to the upper right corner of the goal, but Konopka managed to get a finger on it and tipped it away for a corner.
Roger Torres made his second appearance after his leg injury by entering the match at halftime.
Harrisburg was quick to strike at the beginning of the second half. Only ten minutes into the half, Yann Ekra picked up a Union turnover and slipped by two defenders.
Ekra took the shot from 18-yards out and the attempt found the net past Konopka, putting Harrisburg back on top in the 55th minute.
In the 75th minute, the City Islanders increased their lead to two.
Luckymore Mkosana gathered the ball and made a 45-yard run down the pitch into the Union 18-yard box. Once in the box, Mkosana chipped the ball to Pettis, who volleyed home the pass.
Six minutes later, rookie Jimmy McLaughlin was brought down two yards outside the penalty area. Kai Herdling lined up to take the set piece.
After a few seconds of jockeying for position in the box, Herdling drilled the ball on the ground into the lower left corner of the box to get a goal back for the Union in the 81st minute.
The final whistle made the 3-2 score line official, giving Harriburg the win over Philadelphia.
The Union's next match is Saturday June 16th at PPL Park verses D.C. United in the I-95 Derby match. Philadelphia defeated D.C. in the US Open Cup on June 5 in extra time, 2-1.
The City Islanders next match is Friday June 15th on the Island vs the Rochester Rhinos. Harrisburg last defeated the Rhinos on May 25th 1-0 in USL-PRO action.
HCI: Brian Holt, Dustin Bixler, Yann Ekra, Morgan Langley, Adrian LaRoy, Andrew Marshell, Tom Mellor, Garret Pettis (JT Noone 80'), Drew Yates, Colin Zizzi (Luckymore Mkosana HT). (#18).*
PHL: Chirs Konopka, Brian Carroll (Jack McInerney HT), Keon Danial (Roger Torres HT), Ray Gaddis, Michael Lahoud, Josue Martinez (Kai Herdling HT), Jimmy McLaughlin, Amobi Okugo, Leonard Pajoy (Antoine Hoppenot HT), Jorge Perlaza (Zach Pfeffer HT), Carlos Valdes (Greg Jordan HT).
HCI: Garret Pettis (Tom Mellor) 17'
PHL: Jorge Perlaza (Michael Lahoud) 41'
HCI: Yann Ekra (UA) 55'
HCI: Garet Pettis (Luckymore Mkosana) 75'
PHL: Kai Herdling (UA) 81'