Wednesday, August 1, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In a rematch of last season’s USL PRO Championship, the Harrisburg City Islanders were unable to stop Orlando City from extending its unbeaten streak to 12 games on Wednesday night at Skyline Sports Complex. The Lions’ Jamie Watson scored twice – both off rebounds – in the first half and Erik Ustruck and Dennis Chin struck after halftime in the 4-2 victory.
The scoring began soon after the opening kickoff as both offenses opened up early. In the sixth minute, Watson shot from the top-right corner of the penalty area and elicited a save from Harrisburg keeper Nick Noble. As Noble was trying to regain his footing, the Lions’ striker followed his shot and put away the resulting rebound, giving the visitors an early edge.
The Islanders would reply four minutes later when Brian Ombiji, spread out to the right, targeted a streaking Garret Pettis with a well-timed cross. Pettis’s header leveled the game, but Orlando would steal back momentum in the 32nd minute, again off the effort of Watson.
Fellow striker Dennis Chin wove through the left side of the Islanders defense and let loose a right-footed blast. Noble dove and deflected the try, but an opportunistic Watson was there to head home the rebound.
After halftime, the 1,539 in attendance thought they saw the equalizer from a solo effort from the Islanders’ Yann Ekra. In the 57th, Ekra displayed deft dribbling, breaking down the Orlando defense on the left side. The Islander rookie’s low drive tested Orlando goalkeeper Sean Kelley, who got down well to make the save, denying Harrisburg the chance to get back on even terms.
Five minutes after what may have been the Islanders' best opportunity, the Lions countered quickly through Chin and Ustruck as the tandem took Noble post to post. Noble was able to save Chin's initial shot, but it was an easy goal for Ustruck as he finished off the rebound.
By then, Orlando had taken control. Two more goals – one by each team – would follow but would not change the tempo of the match. Chin would add his league-leading 11th goal of the season in the 75th minute and recent addition Jimmy McLaughlin would cause an own goal by Orlando's Wes Allen on his spry solo effort in the 82nd minute for Harrisburg.
The loss sends Harrisburg to 8-6-6. The Islanders will host Charleston next Wednesday at 7 p.m. J.T. Noone, who played a full 90 for the Islanders, said “the effort was there” but execution was lacking. The loss puts greater importance on next Wednesday’s home game against third-place Charleston.
“Defensively we weren’t up to par,” he said. “Wednesday is a must win for us – then we’ll take it from there.”
Orlando, meanwhile, improves to 16-1-5. The Lions will head up to Rochester on Friday to face the Rhinos at 7:35 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium.