What you need to know:
The Harrisburg City Islanders (3-7-4, 13 points) are prepping to face Toronto FC II (2-8-5, 11 points) for their sixth career matchup and fifth in our northern neighbors territory. Harrisburg has had great overall success the past two seasons against Toronto and look to build off their 1-0 upset over Louisville City FC and put a winning streak together.
History of Toronto FC II – Harrisburg City Islanders
August 14, 2016 – Harrisburg City Islanders beat Toronto FC II, 1-0 at Ontario Soccer Centre.
May 24, 2016 – Harrisburg City Islanders beat Toronto FC II, 2-1 at Clipper Magazine Stadium
July 10, 2016 – Toronto FC II beat Harrisburg City Islanders, 4-2 at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
June 6, 2015 – Harrisburg City Islanders and Toronto FC II draw, 0-0 at Skyline Sports Complex.
August 19, 2015 – Harrisburg City Islanders beat Toronto FC II, 2-0 at Ontario Soccer Centre.
All-time record: 3-1-1
The Islanders have been dominant in their short two-year history against Toronto FC II. Harrisburg has one loss, a 4-2 beating but has since won both their matchups, both coming in Canada as well. Four games have been played on the road for the City Islanders while the only game played in Harrisburg was a 0-0 draw in their second match. The current two-game win streak gives Harrisburg an advantage against an opponent they are expected to beat in the midpoint of the season.
Toronto FC II was on the wrong end of a shootout Saturday, when the USL’s eastern conference last place team met first place Charleston Battery (9-2-4, 31 points). Charleston routed Toronto, 6-1 and opened up the scoring onslaught in the 12th minute and headed into half with a comfortable 2-0 lead. Soon after half, the Battery took a 4-0 advantage before Toronto’s Ryan Tefler sent a cross to Sergio Camargo as he headed in his first goal on the season to cut the late deficit to 4-1, but the USL’s eastern conference powerhouse connected with the back of the net two more times to squash all hopes.
This match will feature two of the lowest goal-scoring teams in the USL. Toronto is last in the USL with six goals in 15 games, but is tied 15th overall with 157 shots, just two more than Harrisburg. The Islanders are 27th with a conversion rate of nine, while Toronto is last with five. Toronto’s strong suit is their goal play. Toronto is one of five teams to record six clean sheets or more, but have allowed the 6th most goals in the league with 22. Harrisburg has allowed 17 while adding four clean sheets to their resume.
The Islanders are becoming a more aggressive bunch; the best example of this would be watching the tape in their 1-0 victory over Louisville City FC (7-2-4, 25 points) at FNB Field on Saturday. Harrisburg managed to squeeze one goal off a beautiful set up by Rasheed Olabiyi to Pedro Ribeiro in the 54th to go up on the 2nd place Louisville City. The offense had many chances to pour on more goals before Ribeiro’s, but a miraculous blocked Jamie Thomas’ penalty kick and a cross bar ringing shot from Ribeiro kept the narrow game 1-0.
The Islanders are looking for their first two-game winning streak since April 5th and 15th when they came away with nail-biting victories over the New York Red Bulls II, 1-0 and Bethlehem Steel, 3-2. This can be the perfect opportunity for Harrisburg to get on a roll and nab another three points in the standings and climb one more spot into playoff contention. With 17 games remaining after the Toronto match and 9 familiar opponents, there is plenty of time for the Islanders to gain offensive chemistry and climb the eastern ranks.
Who to watch for:
Lee Nishanian was out for the Louisville City match after receiving a red card in the 80th minute of the Islanders 1-0 loss to Bethlehem. Nishanian was the lone Islander to start and play every minute of every game this season up until the suspension. The return for the defender will be key for goalkeeper Brandon Miller as he looks for his second straight clean sheet. The defense leaned on Miller heavily in the victory over Louisville as he made some improbable stops that electrified the crowd and his teammates.
Ryan Tefler earned his team-leading second assist on the season their blowout loss to Charleston. Tefler also is tied for most goals on the team with one and leads in scoring chances with 14. In 14 appearances, Tefler has taken seven shots in 967 minutes. He will become the fourth player on Toronto to record 1,000 minutes after their match and lead a lackluster offensive team against the 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year, Brandon Miller.
Catch the action via the USL MATCH CENTER and use #TORvHAR to join the conversation on Twitter! Share a photo of yourself watching the game using #HowIWatchHCI and we’ll share it on our social profiles!