Saturday, April 27, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- On a perfect spring night in Central Pennsylvania the Harrisburg City Islanders' 10th Anniversary season home opener was also the 100th win in team history. The Islanders downed the Rochester Rhinos by a score of 5-1 at Skyline Sports Complex on Saturday night, with Lucky Mkosana scoring twice as Harrisburg pulled away from their northeastern rival.
“This win is the culmination of 10 years of hard work and sacrifice,” Eric Pettis said. “Seeing where we have come from and where we are going is really exciting.”
The victory allowed the City Islanders to remain undefeated on the season after a strong showing by the entire team. Seven different players had either a goal or an assist in the game, with Mkosana coming off of the bench in the 68th minute to score his two goals. Jimmy McLaughlin, with Harrisburg on a season-long loan from the Philadelphia Union, Yann Ekra and Sainey Touray also found the back of the net.
The victory was also Harrisburg coach Bill Becher’s 100th win as he has been with the team since its inaugural season.
“The win is a testament to the great players we have had here throughout the years,” Becher said. “It’s good to come home and build on what we did on the road, if we would’ve came home and lost it would’ve been giving back points we earned on the road.”
The Islanders had a few great scoring chances before breaking through in the 31st minute with a goal from McLaughlin. Ekra picked out McLaughlin's run into the right channel as he was able to slip behind the Rochester defense. After a great first touch, McLaughlin made a nice move around Rochester goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and put his first goal of the season into an open net.
It only got tougher for Rochester from there. In the 43rd minute, Blake Brettschneider made a strong challenge on Sainey Touray, which resulted in a straight red card. Despite being down a man the Rhinos broke through in the 62nd minute. Former Islander Bilal Duckett tapped in the tying goal off a header after a cross by Michael Reidy.
The Islanders regained the lead four minutes later as Ekra found the back of the net off a corner kick from Cristhian Hernandez. Defender Coady Andrews earned the assist, heading the ball goalwards from the corner, and Ekra was on hand to tuck away a finish from close range.
Mkosana’s first goal of the night came less than ten minutes after he entered the game as a pass from Don Anding released Mkosana into the left side of the penalty area behind the defense in the 75th minute. Nicht was able to get a fingertip on the left-footed shot, but it wasn’t enough as the ball deflected in off the far post and in.
Touray added to the lead in the 80th minute as he ran onto a pass from Colin Zizzi to put the Islanders up 4-1. Mkosana’s final goal of the night came on the last kick of the match, cementing one of the best starts in Islander history while keeping Rochester winless at Skyline Sports Complex before 1,817 fans.
The Islanders next game is at Skyline Sports Complex and will come against the Charleston Battery at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. The Islanders will look to build on a great start to the 2013 season as they host the 2012 USL PRO champions in their first meeting since last season's playoffs.