Harrisburg was able to get on the board just minutes into the second half with a beautiful back and forth play between Ropapa Mensah and Jonny Mendoza that led to Mendoza’s second goal of the season.
“I saw the ball flicked back by Pedro,” said Mendoza. “I gambled behind Ropapa and the forwards. He headed the ball back and I was in the right spot in the right moment and it went in.”
Just when it seemed Harrisburg would walk away with three points, former City Islander, Jimmy McLaughlin found the equalizer in the 96th minute of play.
Harrisburg’s point keeps them stagnant at 13th place with 28 points, while FC Cincinnati keeps pace in the playoffs with 36 on the season and currently sits in 7th.
Harrisburg will be back in action at FNB Field on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.
Both teams came out in the first 20 minutes of the match looking to feel each other out. Neither team was attacking with much pace and played a lot of seeking balls into the attacking third.
Harrisburg registered the first shot of the match from Ropapa Mensah but Mitch Hildebrandt was there to make the save. That was the story for most of the first half. Harrisburg was creating decent chances but the Cincinnati goalkeeper was always in perfect position.
That was the story for most of the first half. Harrisburg was creating decent chances but the Cincinnati goalkeeper was always in perfect position. While Harrisburg was able to get off 7 shots, they still lacked the quality to find a quality shot to challenge one of the best goalies in the league.
Cincinnati started to open up the match with a series of strong counterattacks into Islanders territory, but Harrisburg’s defense stood tall in the first 45 minutes.
The two teams went into the locker room scoreless.
Harrisburg came out of the locker room and looked to make an immediate impact on the match. Mensah almost opened the scoring just seconds into the half with a chip that just missed its target.
The Islanders would grab the early lead just minutes later in the 52nd minute to open up the scoring. Mensah flicked on a pass to Mendoza who found the open space to slide home his first goal since May 22.
Despite an onslaught of chances by the visitors, it looked like Mendoza’s goal would stand for a crucial three points and the first Islanders win at home in over a month.
While Harrisburg was holding their own in their defensive end, FC Cincinnati kept coming and putting pressure on the Islanders goal until they broke through with the equalizer in the 96th minute.
McLaughlin got played on by a high pass that split the Islanders defense. He used his speed to get behind the defense and slide it by a sprawling Brandon Miller.
The Harrisburg City Islanders return to action on City Island this Saturday, Sept. 16 for a 7 p.m. start against Toronto FC II. Come out for Star Wars Night on the Island. Plus, the first 1,000 fans will receive a coin pouch courtesy of PHEA!
After that, the Islanders only have two more home matches left on the season. They will play Wednesday, Sept. 27 against the Ottawa Fury FC at 6:30 p.m. and their final match at FNB Field of the regular season against Saint Louis FC on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.