Photo courtesy of Harrisburg City Islanders
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Charlotte Independence tallied three second-half goals to rally past the Harrisburg City Islanders for a 3-1 victory on Saturday at FNB Field. The match was rescheduled after inclement weather Friday night postponed the match to Saturday afternoon. Enzo Martinez tied the score with a penalty kick and then David Estrada and Lewis Hilton added a goal apiece as Charlotte improved to 2-2-2 on the road and 7-4-3 (24 points) overall. Harrisburg’s Craig Foster scored the opening goal for the City Islanders, who have now lost six consecutive matches. Harrisburg is 3-4-1 at home and 4-11-1 (13 points) overall. Harrisburg played the final 14 minutes and stoppage time down a man as James Thomas fouled Charlotte’s Zach Pfeffer to prevent a breakaway in the 77th minute. Thomas as the final defender during that sequence and subsequently was sent off.
10’ – HAR – Craig Foster
53’ – CLT – Enzo Martinez (penalty)
60’ – CLT – David Estrada
86’ – CLT – Lewis Hilton (Brian Brown)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Charlotte had dictated the run of play and the brunt of the scoring chances for much of Saturday’s match. The Independence had forced Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble to make five first-half saves but had not found the back of the net to that point. In the second half, the Independence offense broke through, with David Estrada’s 60th-minute rebound giving Charlotte a 2-1 lead. During that sequence, Yann Ekra crossed from the left to find Bilal Duckett, whose header was turned away by Noble at the near right post. However, the rebound popped out in the middle of the six and Estrada cleaned up with his third goal of the season.
2. There certainly was a sense of controversy early in the second half when Charlotte was granted a penalty kick. Harrisburg’s Shawn McLaws was ruled to have touched the ball with his arm when a high-paced Caleb Calvert header deflected off of McLaws in the box. McLaws tried to plead his case, but the call had been made and Enzo Martinez went to the spot. Martinez placed his right-footed shot into the right of the frame as Noble had anticipated the shot heading in the opposite direction. The 53rd-minute goal tied the score at 1-1 as Martinez tallied for the fourth time this season.
3. During Harrisburg’s six-game skid, the City Islanders’ attack has been shut out three times. Harrisburg had appeared to have turned things around with the upper hand early in the first half. Jose Barril provided a nice through ball to Craig Foster, who then took on Charlotte’s defense head-on. Duckett deflected Foster’s initial shot, but it was not enough to disrupt the momentum as Foster immediately retained possession and then slotted past Independence goalkeeper John Berner for the 1-0 lead. It was Foster’s fourth goal of the season and his first tally since the club’s 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati on May 7. The City Islanders’ efforts didn’t hold up, though, as Charlotte clearly won the possession battle and pressed for much of the match to rally for the victory.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
David Estrada, Charlotte Independence - Estrada tallied the go-ahead goal to lead a Charlotte attack that equaled its largest scoring output of the season to rally past Harrisburg.
Harrisburg City Islanders at Pittsburgh Riverhounds – July 4, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
Charlotte Independence at Orlando City B – July 2, 7:30 p.m. ET, Titan Soccer Complex