Match Recap: Ribeiro Sparks Fire That Leads to Islanders Victory

VAUGHAN, Ont. – The Harrisburg City Islanders took back-to-back victories for the first time this season as they defeated Toronto FC II 4-3 at the Ontario Soccer Centre on Saturday evening. Harrisburg (4-7-4, 16pts) missed a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eight minute when James Thomas shot wide after TFC II goalkeeper Mark Pais had been forced off his line to block an initial shot by Pedro Ribeiro, leaving the net open. Ribeiro gave the visitors the lead in the 23rd minute, however, as he curled home a free kick on the right side of the penalty area into the left corner of the net.

Five minutes later TFC II (2-9-5, 11pts) leveled as Mitchell Taintor volleyed home a free kick by Luca Uccello, but Harrisburg regained the lead quickly as Ribeiro’s low cross found Jake Bond for a close-range finish. Uccello hit back with 10 minutes to go in the half, adding to his earlier assist, as he put home a chance created by Aikim Andrews, but the City Islanders regained the lead again three minutes after the break as Brandon Aubrey turned home an own goal after Jake Bond’s initial shot had been saved. Ten minutes later Paul Wilson added a fourth for the visitors as Ribeiro and Thomas combined to create a chance for Thomas that Pais saved, only for Wilson to put home the rebound.

City Islanders midfielder Danny DiPrima almost found the net with 19 minutes to go, only for Pais to tip his effort over, and three minutes later TFC II pulled a goal back as Andrews fired home from the right side of the penalty area. TFC II was unable to capitalize on a late chance for Malik Johnson, however, as Harrisburg earned another valuable victory.

Scoring:
23′ – HAR – Pedro Ribeiro
28′ – TOR – Mitchell Taintor (Luca Uccello)
31′ – HAR – Jake Bond (Pedro Ribeiro)
35′ – TOR – Luca Uccello (Aikim Andrews)
48′ – HAR – Own Goal (Brandon Aubrey)
58′ – HAR – Paul Wilson
74′ – TOR – Aikim Andrews (Ricardo John)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Having found the net for the first time this season last Saturday night in Harrisburg’s surprise 1-0 win against Louisville City FC, the hope was it would spur Pedro Ribeiro to even greater heights. If his performance against TFC II is an indicator, Ribeiro is ready to take on that challenge. The Brazilian scored a good goal, but it was his play outside his second tally in as many games that really caught the eye as he helped set up two other goals for the City Islanders, including a powerful run that saw him turn the corner on his marker on the left and produce a pinpoint low cross to give Jake Bond a tap-in finish. Aaron Wheeler’s absence has hindered Harrisburg’s attack. Ribeiro could be in the right position now to rekindle it.
  • 2. Coming off their heaviest defeat of the season last Saturday, Toronto FC II produced a far more resilient performance that saw Luca Uccello and Aikim Andrews both notch a goal and assist, and made things interesting all the way until the final whistle. Saturday was the first game this season TFC II has notched multiple goals, and all three were very nicely taken as the technical ability the club’s young players possess was on display. The playoff positions are even further away than they were before the game, but there were far more positives to be taken than seven days ago.
  • 3. Harrisburg’s first back-to-back victories in the league since wins against in-state rivals the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Bethlehem Steel FC two-thirds of the way through last season, the City Islanders have started to claw their way back toward the Eastern Conference playoff positions. The road remains a difficult one for the City Islanders as they need to gain ground on a number of clubs ahead of them, but there is at least hope this side is capable of finding the net more consistently which will should keep it in the running.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Pedro Ribeiro, Harrisburg City Islanders – Ribeiro’s goal and assist highlighted a strong all-around performance to give Harrisburg an important win on the road.