HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Charlotte Eagles defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders 3-1 with second-half goals by Christian Ramirez, Jorge Herrera and Samuel Asante in the quarterfinals of the USL PRO Playoffs on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Skyline Sports Complex.
Charlotte Eagles in orange shirts and white shirts kicked off against the light blue and white kits of the Harrisburg City Islanders. The home side wore special number 11 warm up shirts with #StayStrong denoted on them in honor of former player Jason Hotchkin who was the victim of a shooting earlier in the week. Jason watched the game from his hospital room where he is recovering.
Yann Ekra had the first scoring chance of the game for the boys in blue when a ball laid off by Sainey Touray at the top of the eighteen was volleyed just inches over the ball. Charlotte's first opportunity just came four minutes later when a ball was swung in to the far post which headed into Nathan Thorton who lost the challenge to Islanders' keeper Nick Noble. In the twenty-second minute, Harrisburg's Touray had a one on one with Charlotte keeper Eric Reed but chose to flick the ball to teammate Lucky Mkosana for an open goal but the ball was cleared away before a shot could be attempted. Another chance for Thorton came in the thirty-second minute when he ripped a volley from just outside the corner of the eighteen that whistled over the bar.
The tone was set early in the second half when Jason Pelletier was shown a yellow card for his reckless tackle from behind. In the fifty-first minute when a ball crossed into the box, a City islanders' defender trapped the ball with his foot that was collected by City Islanders keeper Nick Noble. Touray was shown a yellow card for delay of game because of kicking the ball away to the restart for Charlotte. The indirect kick was setup from the edge of the six yard box, Jorge Herrera tapped the ball for Christian Ramirez to blast through the legs of the Islander defenders into the back of the net in the fifty-second minute. Basso was awarded a yellow card for descent. Just moments later, Pelletier crossed in a ball that was headed off the by Basso.
In the seventy-fifth minute, the City Islanders had a trio of corner kicks with the last one headed by Andrews that was cleared off the goal line. Following, Harrisburg made their first substitution by entering Tom Mellor for Morgan Langley. In the eightieth minute, Jimmy McLaughlin was subbed in for Matt Bahner for the home side. Just seconds later on a Charlotte Eagles counter attack, City Islander Stephen Basso fouled the Charlotte Eagle from behind to receive his second yellow resulting in an ejection. On the ensuing free kick, Jorge Herrera ripped a shot to the far post to give his side a 2-0 lead with just less than ten minutes remaining.
Historically, the City Islanders never go down without a fight and they proved that again in the eighty-fifth minute when Lucky Mkoasana made a move past Eagles' keeper Reed then cut it back to his right foot to get his foot to slot the ball home from the edge of the six yard box. In the ninetieth minute, a City Islanders counter attack started by a long ball from Tom Mellor to Sainey Touray who cut the ball back to Lucky Mkosana but the shot was deflected away by a challenging Eagles' defender. With the entire team pushed forward, the hometown guys were countered by two Eagles going alone to goal. Jorge Herrera passed it off to teammate Samuel Asante who tapped the ball into an open net to punch a ticket for a trip to the USL PRO semi-finals for the Charlotte Eagles. The final whistle blew in front of 1,124 fans to close the book on the 2013 City Islanders season.