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Suspended in MLS, Pfeffer scores for Harrisburg in 5-2 loss

The City Islanders opened their season with a 5-2 loss at Pittsburgh Riverhounds with Union loanees Jimmy McLaughlin and Zach Pfeffer combining for one of the few highlights of the night.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Union loanees Jimmy McLaughlin and Zach Pfeffer combined for one of the few highlights of the Harrisburg City Islanders' ugly season-opening loss Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

McLaughlin delivered a pinpoint pass to Pfeffer in the 22nd minute and the midfielder slotted the ball past the keeper for his first career USL goal in just his second appearance for the Union affiliate (see the 30-minute mark of the video below). As pretty as the pass and the goal were, it came after the City Islanders defense had already surrendered two goals in the first 12 minutes of the game at Highmark Stadium.

The City Islanders didn't get any closer as the defense was picked apart for five goals by Riverhounds' midfielders Kevin Kerr (three goals) and Rob Vincent (two goals, two assists) and the offense struggled to maintain possession all evening.

Union loanee Dzenan Catic, who also started in the match, was frustrated much of the night with poor service and exited in the 62nd minute for Garret Pettis, who earned a questionable penalty call and goal to make it 4-2 in the 86th minute. Vincent's goal in stoppage time added insult to injury for the visitors.

McLaughlin played the full 90 minutes. Pfeffer played 83 minutes of the match in his second appearance for the City Islanders while serving his two-game suspension in MLS for last Saturday's flying elbow against FC Dallas. In the 62nd minute, Pfeffer had a dangerous free kick outside the 18' resulted in nothing.

The City Islanders travel to South Carolina to play the Charleston Battery on April 4 and return home to City Island to play FC Montreal on April 18.