The Harrisburg City Islanders kept their playoff hopes alive with a come from behind win that included a two-goal performance from Ropapa Mensah to beat Toronto FC II 2-1 on Saturday at home.
Mensah tallied his first goal of the match just as the first half was winding down to give the Islanders a bit of life heading into the locker room. His second goal of the night and the ultimate game-winner in the 60th minute put the team up for good despite a less than stellar defensive effort.
With the win, Harrisburg grabbed three points at home and currently sit in 13th place but are only five points out of the final playoff position.
“This will give us more energy to go out and get the victories in the rest of our games,” said Mensah.
Harrisburg came out strong with several quality chances in the first 1o minutes of the match. Benbow almost got the Islanders on the board in the 12th minute when he beat the goalie but his bad-angle shot was blocked before it reached the target.
Toronto started to tilt the field to their advantage and cashed in with a goal in the 14th minute. Shaan Hundal cleaned up a rebound shot from Malik Johnson and knocked home the opening goal.
Harrisburg continued to pressure the Toronto backline until they finally broke through with a goal from Ropapa Mensah. Cavalluzzo leaped to get his fingers on the shot but the pace of the ball carried it over the goal line for the equalizer right before the first-half whistle.
The Islanders used the late first-half goal to build momentum and keep it going through the start of the second half. Harrisburg kept up the pressure and put together a few quality chances that were extremely close to giving them the lead.
Mensah was again the one who would give the Islanders life in the game and for the future of their season with his 60th-minute game-winning goal. Mensah got a great pass in the box, turned the defender and put the ball just out of reach for Cavalluzzo.
Unlike their last game, the Islanders defense did just enough to hold onto their one-goal lead at the end of the match. Mensah kept his quality play going and got two more good looks at goal to try to pick up his hat-trick.
Aaron Wheeler made his return to the pitch in the 83rd minute after suffering an injury in early in the season and going through training to get back to playing form.
Mensah’s goal lifted the Islanders in the match and kept them alive in the postseason race. The Islanders need to go undefeated in their final three matches to have a shot at making the playoffs. Harrisburg’s next matchup comes on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. against Ottawa Fury FC at FNB Field.