Riverhounds, City Islanders Battle To Draw In Derby Cup Finale

RECAP PROVIDED BY PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Riverhounds.com) — The Pittsburgh Riverhounds (5-15-5) battled the Harrisburg City Islanders (7-14-5) to a 1-1 draw at FNB Field in the finale of the Keystone Derby Cup presented by the Pennsylvania Lottery and K&L Gates.

The Hounds bid for a second-straight Keystone Derby Cup title fell short with the result, as Harrisburg’s 2-1 defeat of Pittsburgh at Highmark Stadium this past July proved to be the deciding factor in the season series – the clubs also played to a draw on July 4.

Potting the lone tally for the Hounds was Sergio Campbell in the 70th minute, while Craig Foster opened the match’s scoring only minutes earlier in the 65th minute. Competition was even throughout with Pittsburgh holding a shots and shots on goal advantage of 11-to-8 and 6-to-5, respectively.

The Hounds got out to a fast start, with Corey Hertzog, playing near his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, creating two chances early. First, in the eighth minute, Hertzog had a go from distance to force goalkeeper Keasel Broome to make a diving save to his right and give the Hounds their first corner of the match. Then in the 21st minute, midfielder Lebo Moloto fed Hertzog, who entered the match having scored six goals in his past six matches, a useful ballfor a one-on-one opportunity against Broome. The Hounds forward, at an angle, was able to push his shot past the City Islanders keeper, but Hertzog’s bid for the far-post on his right just missed keeping the score knotted at zero.

Hertzog continued his strong play into the early stages of the second half, creating a stellar opportunity in the 54th minute. Finding space just inside the right side of the box, Hertzog uncorked a rocket of a shot, forcing Broome to fully extend for a tough save.

Unable to cash in on opportunities in the offensive end, the Hounds saw the City Islanders breakthrough with the match’s first tally in the 65th minute. With only three shots up until the goal, Harrisburg’s Cardel Benbow facilitated the opening tally by getting behind defender Mike Green and flicking a cross over the head of goalkeeper Zack Steffen to Foster for the finish.

The lead would last momentarily, as the Hounds received a free kick from 40 yards out. Danny Earls, for the second-straight week, sent a beauty of a ball in the box off a set piece, this time seeing Campbell redirect for the goal right in front of Broome. For Earls, it was his third helper on the season, while Campbell nabbed his first career goal as a Hound.

Much like the lead for Harrisburg though, Pittsburgh’s momentum came to a halt after a red card was issued to Earls at midfield for a hard sliding challenge in the 74th minute. Down a man for the remainder of the match, the Hounds would push for a go-ahead tally and force the Derby Cup to be decided by tiebreakers, but the effort was to no avail.

Despite just missing out on the in-state prize, the Hounds earned points in back-to-back matches for the first time since April 30 – back-to-back draws in dates at Louisville City FC and Charleston Battery – and have accumulated seven points in their last four matches.

Pittsburgh will continue its three-game road trip with a visit to Orlando City B (8-8-8) next Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. For more information on the Hounds’ upcoming road date, visit Riverhounds.com.

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