Union look to kickstart win streak with tough task in USL Pro affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders

Preview tonight's friendly against USL affiliate Harrisburg (7 p.m.)

MacMath vs. Harrisburg

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Philadelphia Union (MLS)  at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-Pro)

What: Annual friendly against develeopmental affiliate

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Where: Skyline Sports Complex, Harrisburg, Pa.

TV: None; Online: Live updates via our matchday Twitter feed: @TheUMatchday

Radio: None, but catch live insight and starting lineups on "The 90th Minute." The show sponsored by Farmers Insurance airs on CBS SportsRadio (610-AM).

All-time record (four meetings): 2-1-1 including 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

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Since the Islanders partnered with the Union in March of 2010, the two teams have faced off three times in friendly play with each team having secured a win and a tie. Philadelphia, however, got the better of Harrisburg in Open Cup play last year as they outplayed their affiliate in a 5-2 win.

The Union hold a 1-1-1 record against Harrisburg City in friendly matches and will look to gain the upper hand tonight. The Islanders are currently sit second in the USL Pro League with 28 points and are having a very strong season. Forward Sainey Touray has proven to be a valuable asset for the Islanders this year as he leads the team with seven goals and four assists. Touray is also tied for third in the league in both goals and points (18). Philadelphia will have to control him if they want to have success in Harrisburg.

The first meeting between the two squads came in July of 2010 when the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The match was a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams play reasonably strong games. The Union got on the board first when Danny Mwanga headed home a cross from Fred just before the 30th minute. Philadelphia, however, failed to hold their lead as Jordan Harvey and Chris Seitz collided in front of the net, which resulted in an own goal.

The second meeting between the two clubs had a much different result. The Union dominated a second half in which they tallied five goals. Harrisburg got off to an impressive start in the match scoring two goals in the first 19 minutes of play, but fell apart after halftime. Justin Mapp led Philadelphia’s second half resurgence as he compiled a goal and two assists, while Zach Pfeffer also put one home. The match ended with the Union looking dominant in a 5-3 win.

The 2012 campaign was a struggle for the Union and it was apparent in their annual friendly against the Islanders as Philadelphia fell, 3-2.  The match was an even affair in the first half with both teams tallying one goal, but the game shifted Harrisburg’s way in the second. A 55th minute goal from Yann Ekra propelled the Islanders forward and put Harrisburg on top for good. Garret Pettis gave the Islanders some much needed insurance with his second tally of the match to seal the win.

A bright spot for the Union in the 2012 season was their performance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they made it to semifinals. Only two weeks after playing Harrisburg in their annual friendly, the Union found themselves in a quarterfinals matchup with their affiliate. This match went much different than the previous one. The Union showed their muscles as they took down Harrisburg City, 5-2. Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney and Lionard Pajoy each tallied a goal in the first half to give the Union a 3-0 lead. Brian Ombiji and Morgan Langley scored for the Islanders in the early minutes of the second half, but that would be as close as the Islanders would get. Pajoy and Gabriel Gomez each scored to finish out the Union victory. 

Today’s match will be the first match between the Union and Islanders since their meeting in the US Open Cup last year.

Contact Union writer Howard Hutchinson at hhutchinson@philadelphiaunion.com