Saturday night’s match between the Harrisburg City Islanders and the Ottawa Fury became something of an oddity thanks to a significant officiating miscue which saw Ottawa’s Sito Seoane not being awarded a goal even though replays showed that his shot clearly bounced inside of the Harrisburg net. Ultimately, this error will not be long remembered thanks to Seoane’s “second” goal in the 55th minute which secured the win for the Fury.
Ottawa’s lineup was bolstered by several players returning from injury. Lance Roozeboom was back to making an impact in the midfield after missing their last game due to injury. Steevan Dos Santos was back for the first time since last month, although he started the match on the bench. He did eventually enter the game as a second half sub. Some good news for Harrisburg, Jonny Mendoza and Paul Wilson made appearances on the bench after they both had to be subbed out against Bethlehem due to injury.
After a fairly even back-and-forth start to the match, everything changed in the 28th minute. Ottawa’s Callum Irving delivered a long kick that fell to the feet of Ryan Williams. Williams sent a quick pass to an open Sito Seoane who hammered the ball off the crossbar and down inside the net for what’s usually a goal. See?
It’s hard to say why this call was missed on the field. It certainly looked like the official was in position to make the call, and it looked like the ball cleared the line by a good three or four inches. Whatever the reason, play resumed with the score still 0-0, much to the consternation of any Ottawa supporters.
To the Fury’s credit, they didn’t let this error demoralize them. Players like Seoane, Williams, and Eddie Edwards kept the pressure on the Harrisburg defense. Harrisburg had a few solid opportunities as well, including one from Shawn McLaws that was made possible by a nifty back heel by Pedro Ribiero. However, both sides went into halftime without being credited for a goal.
When the second half started, Ottawa put all their effort into collecting the goal that they had been denied in the first half. Williams nearly got it in the 50th minute off of a beautiful free kick, but Harrisburg goalkeeper Sean Lewis was able to make a diving grab just inside the far post to deny him. The Fury didn’t let up, and the next shot on goal came from Jamar Dixon in the 55th minute. Lewis was able to push this one away as well, but the rebound went right to an open Seoane who buried the shot to get the goal he had missed out on earlier.
Harrisburg had plenty of time to try and get back a goal of their own, but they couldn’t find much in terms of quality chances. Harrisburg’s Mike Olla very nearly got one after a free kick in the 68th minute, but the angle of the shot wasn’t great and it rolled just wide. After that, most of the pressure came from the Fury looking for some security. Steevan Dos Santos had a one-on-one situation for Ottawa in the 78th minute, but he overthought his chance and didn’t get a good shot off. Harrisburg’s defense managed to stay tough in the final minutes, but the offense was stifled through the midfield and they were unable to find an equalizer.
Ottawa’s next match is Saturday, June 17th at Rochester. Harrisburg will be back in action on Wednesday, June 14th when they travel to Talen Energy Stadium to face the Philadelphia Union in the 4th Round of the US Open Cup.
- The Fury could have have tacked on a few additional scores if it weren’t for some late match heroics from Harrisburg goalkeeper Sean Lewis. He pulled off a spectacular set of saves off of a corner in the 83rd minute, and managed to turn away a point blank shot from Ottawa’s Ryan Williams in the 88th minute. Lewis has continued to show excellent play in only his fourth start for Harrisburg.
- First half injuries continue to be a problem for the City Islanders. Aaron Wheeler picked up an early injury and had to be subbed off in the 24th minute. Mike Olla did a fine job as his replacement, but these types of substitutions always seem to disrupt Harrisburg's game plan - not to mention how much they complicate their substitution options in the second half.
- After flying under the radar for the first half of the season, Ottawa has now won three out of their last four matches. Their win over Harrisburg has moved them into sixth place in the evenly matched Eastern Conference. With this continued run of form, the former NASL side is poised to make a good impression in their first season in the USL.