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Last-Gasp City Islanders Defeat Red Bulls II

By usl admin, 05/09/15, 9:45PM EDT


USL Game Report

Saturday, May 9, 2015

HARRISON, N.J. - The Harrisburg City Islanders claimed their second consecutive victory as a stoppage-time goal lifted them to a 2-1 win against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. An own-goal by Konrad Plewa proved the difference, after the teams exchanged goals in the first half. 

The teams were off to the races from the sound of the first whistle. End-to-end play ensued and Red Bulls II struck first in the ninth minute. A corner swung in by Leo Stolz was headed down in the box and reached Chris Tsonis. The forward took a touch which reached Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who blasted his shot into the upper right-hand corner.

Red Bulls II continued to create scoring chances, and in the 20th minute nearly grabbed a second goal when a Dan Metzger takeaway turned into a quick counter-attack. Derrick Etienne received the ball from Metzger and returned the ball to Metzger who charged forward down the left side. The U.S. U-23 international played in a wide-open Tsonis, who took a shot which was a saved by Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble.

Moments later, Harrisburg City responded with the equalizer. Enric Valles launched a long aerial pass from just inside the New York half of the field and found Jose Barril in behind the Red Bulls II defense. The Islanders midfielder controlled well, and he slotted away his chance into the lower left corner to even the match at 1-1.

In the second half, Manolo Sanchez nearly grabbed his second goal of the season when he received a pass in space from Tsonis in the 52nd minute. Sanchez, alone near the penalty spot, struck a low shot but Noble made the save with his leg. The ball deflected out of the area to Metzger, but his shot went directly to Noble.

Jimmy McLaughlin went inches away from giving the City Islanders the lead in the 56th minute when he found himself in a foot race with Stolz for a bouncing ball. Santiago Castano charged to confront the attacker, and McLaughlin touched the ball over his head, but the shot deflected off of the post and out, inches away from bouncing in.

McLaughlin had also been denied by the woodwork in the first half, as Castano palmed his shot onto the crossbar, and Castano would make another fine save on McLaughlin to keep the game level in the 68th minute. McLaughlin broke in alone on the left, and sent a curling shot toward the right corner, but Castano parried the ball away at full stretch, and the Red Bulls II defense cleared the rebound.

New York was reduced to 10 men with four minutes to go when Stolz was sent off for receiving his second yellow card, but it appeared the game would end level until the first minute of stoppage  time. A cross from Neil Shaffer on the left swung into the box aimed for Enric Valles was headed into his own net by Plewa just outside the six-yard box. 

The goal proved decisive, as Harrisburg held on for the remaining minutes to move past New York, and into at least temporary possession of a top-six place in the USL's Eastern Conference standings ahead of Saturday night's contests.

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