Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com
Tuesday, May 28, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- An overtime thriller at Skyline Sports Complex would come down to penalty kicks as the City Islanders erased a three-goal deficit in the second-half of extra time. Nick Noble made a diving save to his left on Benny Feilhaber’s – and the Revolution’s – attempt in the fifth round of penalty kicks, sending the City Islanders into the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in dramatic fashion.
http://usl2.uslsoccer.com/imgs/HCI-NewEngland0529.jpgAfter the Revolution scored three times in the first 15-minute half of extra time, the City Islanders looked deflated as the stands emptied around them. Of the 441 in attendance who stayed, they witnessed the home team strike three times in the second 15-minute half, the equalizer coming off the foot of J.T. Noone in the 120th minute.
Kelyn Rowe started the scoring in the 94th after regulation ended with the teams deadlocked 0-0. Second-half substitute Lee Nguyen wove through the Islander defense and laid it off for a following Rowe to finish, and then Nguyen, who sparked the Revolution’s attack in the opening minutes of extra time, earned a penalty kick that he converted in the 99th minute to make it 2-0.
After Feilhaber scored three minutes later off a Blake Brettschneider assist, all hope seemed lost for the City Islanders, who went into the second half of overtime down 3-0. Following the whistle, Harrisburg coach Bill Becher gathered his troops at midfield and implored his side to not give in.
A quick score by Brian Ombiji – assisted by Tom Mellor – in the 111th got the City Islanders on the board. But Harrisburg wasn’t satisfied with a moral victory. The City Islanders struck again in the 117th as play became frantic – this time off a solo effort by Sainey Touray, whose match-long work rate made up for the loss of star striker Yann Ekra, who was out for the game with a right leg injury.
Noone’s finish in the 120th minute came following a frenetic sequence in front of New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s net. Several shots pinballed around the box until one took a fortuitous bounce toward Noone. The midfielder’s aim was true as he struck the ball off a bounce, planting it firmly in the lower-right corner of the net and sending the teams into penalty kicks to decide the match.
In penalty kicks, the Islanders had to come from behind again as Shuttleworth stopped the first attempt by Noone and Nguyen pocketed his second penalty kick of the night to put the visitors up 1-0.
Every Islander who stepped to the spot after Noone, however, would score, and after Rowe's shot in the second round came back off the crossbar got the City Islanders back on even terms, Andrew Marshall's goal with the opening shot of the fifth round applied pressure to Feilhaber's make-or-break shot as Noble stared him down, waving his hands. Harrisburg's goalkeeper would save from the U.S. International, starting the part on City Island.
The Revolution had played the majority of the match down a man after losing striker Diego Fagundez in the 36th minute, and had felt constant pressure applied by a hot City Islanders team, who had entered the match undefeated in their last five contests. Play was sloppy at times as players slipped on the wet surface – a storm had passed through before the game, delaying the opening kickoff by almost 40 minutes, and the rain continued into the first half – and passes skidded away from intended targets. Both defenses had difficulty with the slick pitch, often finding themselves off-balance and on their heels.
The teams combined for 27 shots in regulation, 17 coming from the Islanders. Their first opportunity may have been their best as Touray snuck past the Revolution defense unmarked in the second minute, and nailed a shot off the crossbar from 10 yards out. It was the second time the City Islanders had defeated New England in Open Cup play.
The Revolution returns to MLS action Saturday when they welcome the Chicago Fire to Gillette Stadium. Harrisburg’s next USL PRO opponent will be the Richmond Kickers, who make the trip to Skyline Sports Complex on Friday night. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The City Islanders advance to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup to play MLS’s New York Red Bulls, who defeated the Charleston Battery 3-0 earlier in the evening, on Tuesday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at Skyline Sports Complex.