Friday, June 15, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders needed two late goals after a deflection put the visiting Rochester Rhinos ahead in the 80th minute. Substitutes Yann Ekra and Lucky Mkosana scored for the home team, which had been bogged down offensively for much of the match.
After Rochester had dominated possession for the first 45 minutes, the Islanders diverted from their favored 4-5-1 formation and sent in strikers Ekra and Mkosana after halftime. Their impact was immediate.
The revitalized Harrisburg attack upped its shots to 10 – after managing only two in the first half – and created several more scoring opportunities. And when additional forward Sainey Touray entered in the 71st, they were able to press the Rhinos' defense even more as, Touray springing free two minutes after his introduction down the center of the pitch before he sent a header just over goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and the crossbar.
Seven minutes later, the Rhinos struck back, finding the back of Harrisburg’s net through Michael Tanke. After picking up the ball in midfield, Tanke drove a shot from 35 yards into the lower-right corner of Nick Noble’s net. The shot took a deflection off defender Dustin Bixler close to the top of the penalty area and wrong-footed Noble, who froze after realizing the mishap.
The goal appeared to spur on the home team as they pushed forward in droves to get the tying score. Midfielder Jason Pelletier, who handed the captain’s armband back to the returning Bixler, set up the equalizer in the 86th minute, sending a long lob to Ekra. The Ivory Coast-born striker screened his defender, spun and fired the pass into the left corner of Nicht’s net.
Four minutes later, it was fellow sub Mkosana’s turn to electrify the 1,958 in attendance. The Dartmouth product timed his run perfectly as defender Bilal Duckett, spread out to the right, curled in a low cross right in front of Nicht. The service and Mkosana's finish were impeccable, giving the Islanders their second win of the season against second-placed Rochester.
Rochester drops to 6-3-3 on the season, while Harrisburg goes to 4-2-4. The Rhinos head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Riverhounds, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. The City Islanders, meanwhile, travel south to face Orlando City next Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.