Antoine Hoppenot provided just the boost the Harrisburg City Islanders needed to get their season back on track Saturday night as the Union loanee drew a pair of penalties and scored a game-winner in his first game with the Union's USL affiliate Saturday night.
Hoppenot put his stamp on the game early as he got behind the defense on a long ball and went down on contact from behind by FC Montreal defender Mitchel Bringolf. Bringolf was shown red for the challenge and fellow Union loanee Jimmy McLaughlin converted from the spot to give the Islanders the early lead and put them in the driver's seat up a man with 79 minutes to go.
FC Montreal found an equalizer against the run of play in the 32nd minute with a goal from Montreal Impact Homegrown Player Louis Béland-Goyette and got to halftime with the score tied.
But Hoppenot made good on a chance in front of the net, toe poking the ball past the FC Montreal keeper two minutes after the break to give the City Islanders the lead. Hoppenot drew a second penalty six minutes later when he managed to somehow fool the referee into pointing to the spot on a clean tackle by John Dinkota, who was understandably perplexed by the call.
McLaughlin was unable to convert this time as his penalty kick attempt was tipped off the right post, one of a slew of golden opportunities the Islanders failed to capitalize on to put the game away. Hoppenot had a shot blocked from point blank range in front of the goal in the 64th minute and McLaughlin skied one over the bar late that would've sealed it, but the back line that included Union loanee Richie Marquez did enough to keep the dangerous Montreal counter-attack from spoiling the season opener on City Island.
Dzenan Catic subbed into the game in the 70th minute but had a rather pedestrian 20 minutes, the story so far for his three games with the City Islanders as the rookie has struggled to make the kind of impact he's been accustomed to in college and the PDL.
With the win, the Islanders move to 1-2-0 ahead of a trip to North Carolina for games with Charlotte on Friday, April 24 and Wilmington Saturday, May 2. The City Islanders don't return home until May 16 to host Charlotte after a third straight road game against New York Red Bulls II on Saturday, May 9.