Harrisburg, PA (July 1, 2016) – The time has finally come for the City Islanders and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to face-off in the 2016 K&L Gates and Pennsylvania Lottery Keystone Derby. The Pennsylvania rivals were scheduled to play earlier this season on April 9 at the Riverhounds’s Highmark Stadium but inclement weather in Western PA lead to a postponed match. The April game will now be held on Sunday, July 17 at Highmark Stadium, but the Keystone Derby Cup will begin on Monday, July 4.
The Keystone Derby Cup was created just last year to award the USL Pennsylvania team with the best head-to-head record. The inaugural match took place on March 28, 2015 and the Riverhounds defeated the Islanders in the series 3-1.
Here’s a summary of last year’s series:
March 28, 2015– Rob Vincent kicked off the match with a goal in the first five minutes for the Riverhounds. Less than 10 minutes later, Kevin Kerr scores again for the Riverhounds, widening the gap. In the 22nd minute, Islanders’ Philadelphia Union loanee, Zach Pfeffer, gets past Riverhounds goalkeeper Ryan Thompson and sinks one for the Islanders. City’s Garrett Pettis gets a PK, but the Riverhounds find the back of the Islanders net 3 more times before claiming their 5-2 victory in the series’ opener.
May 30, 2015– The rivals met for the second time on Pittsburgh soil and the City Islanders came out on fire! Within the first half, Yan Ekra, Danny DiPrima, and Jose Barril all scored for the Islanders and sent the Riverhounds to their locker room with a halftime upset. The tables turned, though, as Pittsburgh came alive in the second half. Vincent and Soumah scored back-to-back within minutes of each other, putting the Riverhounds on the board. The Islanders managed two more goals before the final whistle, but their efforts could not contend with Pittsburg final four. Pittsburgh won again, 6-5.
July 26, 2015– Finally, Pittsburgh travels to Harrisburg and the Islanders come out on top. The Riverhounds opened the scoring with a goal from Soumah and a successful PK from Vincent. While Pittsburgh basked in their early glory, Plumhoff slipped in a goal just before halftime, boosting City’s momentum and confidence. Even with Barril’s ejection after two yellow cards, the Islanders still hit three goals in the second half; two from Craig Foster and another from Plumhoff. Plumhoff closed the match. City won 4-3 and now had a chance at the Keystone Derby Cup.
September 19, 2015– Again on City turf, the final match was a crucial one. The Riverhounds’ Vincent and Kerr sent two balls soaring past Islanders’ Nick Noble in the 33rd and 34th minute, respectively. Pittsburgh went into halftime with a 2-0 lead. The Islanders put themselves on the board when Union loanee Antoine Hoppenot slid one past Pittsburgh’s goalkeeper and met the back of the net in the 75th minute. The Islanders outshot the Riverhounds 9-6 but were unable to score again. Pittsburgh won 2-1 and advanced to the playoffs.
The Islanders currently have a record of 4-11-1 and the Riverhounds 2-8-3. Based on their past, the rivalry between these teams is going to call for an interesting series that could change these statistics drastically.
The Keystone Derby Cup is now being sponsored by K&L Gates and the Pennsylvania Lottery. The series kick-off will take place on Monday, July 4th at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 7:00 pm.