Pittsburgh won the first game of the season-long competition and the two teams played to a draw in the second match. Harrisburg needed a win at FNB Field to keep their title.
Harrisburg was playing in their fourth game in 10 days and it showed. Pittsburgh got out to a hot start with a goal from Romeo Parkes in the 28th minute that was bolstered by two second-half tallies to give Pittsburgh their second Keystone Derby Cup title.
“We gave away the first two goals and when you give away two goals away at this level, you lose games,” said City Islanders Head Coach Bill Becher. “It’s unacceptable to give away goals in the fashion that we did.”
Harrisburg’s loss is their third in as many games and keeps them stagnant at 24 points on the season. With the win, Pittsburgh moves up the Eastern Conference just one spot ahead of the Islanders.
The Islanders spent much the first half defending in their own end. Pittsburgh was on the constant attack with their potent top three of Parkes, Kerr, and Hertzog with several quality chances before finding the opening goal.
Parkes picked off an Islanders pass in the middle of the field and started to streak towards the goal. He split two defenders and found himself in all alone with no one to beat but Brandon Miller. Miller went left, and Parkes slid the ball to his right.
Harrisburg looked to have a step at the end of the half, but the Riverhounds took a one-goal lead into the locker rooms.
Harrisburg had a few chances to grab an equalizer to start the second half including a hard shot from Mendoza. Pittsburgh’s goalie, Trey Mitchell, was in perfect position to catch the ball and put a halt to the Islanders attack.
After the early second half push, it was a myriad of turnovers and unorganized play that led to two more unanswered goals for the visitors. Miller fumbled the handle of a ball as it was crossing into the penalty box and Walsh picked up the mistake to net his first of two goals in the match.
Following his error, Miller made a few ridiculous saves to keep the scoreline respectable. If it weren’t for his effort, Pittsburgh could have walked away from FNB Field with a larger margin of victory.
Harrisburg had a late chance to get on the board when Cardel Benbow slid a ball over to a streaking Paul Wilson, who just narrowly missed putting the ball into the net.
Harrisburg has now lost back-to-back games at home for the first time all season. They have failed to grab a point in their last three matches in total.
The City Islanders head back on the road for a match against Louisville City FC on Wednesday, August 23 before coming home to FNB Field for the final match with the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, September 9 at 7 p.m.