Photo courtesy Sideline Photos / Bethlehem Steel FC
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Harrisburg City Islanders took back-to-back victories for the second time this season as Brett Jankouskas’ second-half goal earned a 1-0 victory against Bethlehem Steel FC on Thursday evening at Goodman Stadium. A free kick by Ryan Richter that was bobbled but recovered by Harrisburg goalkeeper Keasel Broome was the closest either side came to taking the lead in the first half, as neither side was able to manufacture much threat in the attacking third. That continued in the second half, until the City Islanders sprang out on a counter-attack with 16 minutes to go to take the lead. Cardel Benbow’s cross from the right was met with a perfect finish by Brett Jankouskas, and the goal proved decisive as the City Islanders took the road victory.
74’ – HAR – Brett Jankouskas (Cardel Benbow)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The playoffs are still a way away for the City Islanders after Thursday, but with a good road win to build off their victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday night, eighth place is now visible for Coach Bill Becher’s crew. It’s still going to be an uphill struggle for the side, four points back of the Steel with only nine games to go and the others around them all holding games in hand, but with the team’s history, you can’t rule it out now.
2. For the Steel, this is the sort of result the side might look back on wistfully should it fall short of a playoff berth. At home against a team below it in the standings, Bethlehem didn’t produce enough to find a way to win, and as a result might not be in the Eastern Conference’s top eight when it takes to the field on Sunday in what will be a tough game against the defending champion Rochester Rhinos.
3. The thing that’s made the biggest difference for the City Islanders over their second run of back-to-back wins this season has been the team’s defense, which has given up only one goal in the past two games. Tied for the most goals conceded in the USL this season entering Thursday's game, Harrisburg had found ways to give points away earlier in the season. If the defense can remain solid, the City Islanders are going to be a dangerous side down the stretch whether or not they make the playoffs.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Cardel Benbow, Harrisburg City Islanders – Benbow provided a beautiful cross to cap a good performance overall as the City Islanders took a big road victory against their in-state rival.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Rochester Rhinos – July 24, 4 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos – July 29, 7 p.m. ET, FNB Field