Saturday, June 30, 2012
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders took a 2-1 victory against the Rochester Rhinos at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday night, taking their third victory against the Rhinos this season to sweep the regular-season contests between the two teams. After a scoreless first half Lucky Mkosana scored the opening goal in the 52nd minute, and substitute Drew Yates scored the game winning goal in the 83rd minute for Harrisburg. Rochester's emerging star JC Banks got a goal back in the 89th minute, but time ran out on Rochester.
The Rhinos opened with the first chance of the match. In the ninth minute, center midfielder Danny Earls and Banks pressed City Islanders right back Bilal Duckett. The ball popped loose to Earls and he crossed it to the far post. Striker Tam McManus just missed connecting with a header and the ball sailed past the post.
In the 13th minute an errant Harrisburg pass out of the back was intercepted by an onrushing Jack Traynor, who found Banks on the left wing at the top of the penalty area. Banks ran at a City Islanders defender and shot the ball on goal, but Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble made a diving save to keep the ball out.
The heat took a toll on both clubs as the first half wore on. The temperature was 90 degrees at kickoff and was 10 degrees warmer on the field turf in Sahlen’s Stadium. Both teams were content to alternate possession in the middle third. The ball was frequently out of play giving the players on the pitch a chance to recover.
Just as the pace of Harrisburg’s three pronged attack of Yann Ekra, Mkosana, and Brian Ombiji began to put the Rhinos under pressure, Rochester responded with two chances. In the 31st minute right winger Quavas Kirk served a ball into the box. Defender Greg Jordan could not get a foot to the ball, and it fell to McManus who couldn’t get a shot on target.
The final chance of the first half fell to Rochester in the 35th minute. Rosenlund and center midfielder Michael Tanke pressed the City Islanders into a turnover in the attacking half of the pitch. Rosenlund won possession and played a ball into Banks feet. Banks dribbled the ball through midfield and drove into the City Islanders penalty box. He played McManus through, but his shot was right at Noble from a deteriorating angle.
The City Islanders opened the second half by putting the Rhinos under immediate pressure. In the 52nd minute midfielder Jason Pelletier played a brilliant ball over the head of Traynor and into the path of an onrushing Morgan Langley, who crossed the ball across the top of the six yard box where Mkosana finished the chance to give his team the lead.
While the Rhinos struggled to regain their composure, goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and captain Troy Roberts were steady in the back to keep Rochester in the match. In the 53rd minute a ball popped out to Pelletier 25 yards away from the Rhinos goal. Pelletier drove the ball on target, but a diving save from Nicht kept the Rochester deficit at one. The in the 71st minute Quavas Kirk was booked and Mkosana took the ensuing free kick for the City Islanders. Mkosana bent his free kick around the Rhinos' two-man wall, but it was Nicht to the Rhinos' rescue again with a diving save to his near post.
In the 77th minute the Rhinos got caught on a counter attack and Ekra got in behind the Rhinos back four at midfield. Roberts chased Ekra down for 60 yards and made a sliding tackle to block his shot.
Harrisburg was able to find a second goal in the 83rd minute. After a good build-up the City Islanders put substitute Teddy McLaughlin in behind on the right flank. McLaughlin crossed the ball to Mkosana at the near post, and while he was not able to get his effort on target, Yates was on hand to tap the ball in at the far post.
Rochester introduced the possibility of a comeback to the 6,592 fans in attendance in the 88th minute. After laying siege to the City Islanders' penalty area, Earls played a cheeky chip to Banks at the far post. Banks was able to finish the free header past a diving Noble. But ultimately time ran out on the Rhinos and the final score was 2:1.
The Rochester Rhinos next home match is on Wednesday, July 4th at 8 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium against Antigua Barracuda FC. Tickets are available by calling 585.454.KICK, visiting rhinossoccer.com, or any Ticketmaster Retail Outlets.