Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com
Thursday, July 5, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders (5-4-4) will face their Pennsylvania rival the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the latest edition of the Keystone derby at Chartiers Valley Stadium on Friday night. The City Islanders will face goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap and the Riverhounds (3-7-5) for the second time this season after concluding an unforgiving four-game road trip with a 2-1 victory against Rochester last Saturday night, giving the City Islanders the jolt of confidence they needed going into Friday’s matchup.
“The Rochester win was very important for us after a tough couple of games in a row,” said defender Colin Zizzi. “At the moment we are just focusing on one game at a time and looking to get a positive result on Friday in Pittsburgh.”
The Islanders are hoping that “positive result” will come in the form of three points as consecutive losses to Orlando and Charleston prior to Saturday’s win over Rochester sapped the team’s spirits and posed a major setback to Harrisburg’s tenuous playoff run.
Currently, Coach Bill Becher’s side sits in sixth place in the USL PRO standings, just a point back from Richmond and three points behind Wilmington, two teams that will square off this Saturday night at Legion Stadium.
Against Pittsburgh and its terrific keeper, the Islanders will need to have a sense of swagger heading into the Steel City as the Riverhounds went undefeated at home during the month of June. Their keeper, Gilstrap, who is tied for third in the league in minutes played with 1350, has played a crucial part in their success, holding three of the league’s top four teams to one goal each during June’s four-game home stand. In the previous meeting of the Keystone Derby on May 16, Gilstrap was stellar, recording eight saves as the teams played to a scoreless draw.
Despite June’s success, the Riverhounds began July with an Independence Day loss against Dayton. In sticky conditions at Miami Valley South Stadium, the Riverhounds still mustered a decent offensive effort, pouring in 11 shots to the home team’s six. But what looked like another clean sheet for Gilstrap – and a sixth draw for the Riverhounds – ended as a 1-0 loss in the 86th minute, as Akeem Priestly beat his defender, and scored from a sharp angle to send the visitors home disappointed.
However, Andrew Welker, a key cog in the Islanders’ midfield, was not taking Pittsburgh lightly.
“It looks like they [Pittsburgh] have had a very solid last few games,” he said. “They just tied Orlando on Saturday and not many people have been able to take points from them this season. When we played Pittsburgh earlier this season, their keeper, Gilstrap, was outstanding so it should be another great game between us.”