The Harrisburg City Islanders dropped their third-straight match at home on Wednesday night in a thrilling 3-2 match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Harrisburg played their best match in over a month, but a 68th-minute penalty conversion from Georgi Hristov proved to be too much to overcome.
After not scoring in six games, the Islanders got goals from Ropapa Mensah and Lee Nishanian, while Brandon Miller made a series of highlight-reel saves to keep the game within striking distance.
With the loss, Harrisburg stays stagnant at 13th place in the Eastern Conference, while Tampa Bay moves into a three-way tie for second place in points.
“Our performance wasn’t good enough,” said goal-scorer Nishanian. “We were looking for a win. We had a good chance by going up a goal and then coming back to tie it, but we couldn’t get it.”
The Islanders are back on the road this Saturday, Sept. 9 against Saint Louis FC. This is the first matchup of the season between the two Eastern Conference foes.
Harrisburg controlled most of the first half’s possession and after a few quality chances finally found the final combination to strike for their first goal in six matches.
Jonny Mendoza swung a perfect pass into the box that sailed over the Tampa Bay backline to find the head of Lee Nishanian. Nishanian’s first goal of the season gave Harrisburg their first lead in over a month.
Tampa Bay countered with two goals of their own from Georgi Hristov and Martin Paterson in the 30′ and 32′ minute to give the Rowdies a sudden one-goal lead.
Harrisburg was able to take advantage of precise passing right before the half and was able to knot the game at two in the 40th minute. Ropapa Mensah was able to put a clever flick on a hard, direct shot from Pedro Ribeiro that fooled Pickens and found its way into the net.
The two teams would head to the locker room tied at two.
Harrisburg came out with the same conviction and continued to control the pace of play well into the second half. Tampa Bay was finding quick strikes but could not sustain pressure and Brandon Miller was making great saves to keep the game tied.
Tampa Bay finally started to turn the tables and started to put pressure on the Islanders backline. The game turned when Jon Mendoza was called for a hard challenge in the box against Alex Morrell who was almost in alone on goal.
Hristov took the shot from the spot and converted for the ultimate game-winning goal.
Although Miller gave up three goals, his performance in net kept the Islanders in the match and within striking distance until the final whistle.
The Islanders return home for their first of four straight home matches starting this Tuesday, Sept 12 at 7 p.m. Grab your tickets for the final few regular season games in 2017!