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March to the Match: City Islanders

WHO: Harrisburg City Islanders, 10-9-4, 34 points, 7th in the Eastern Conference

WHAT: Louisville City’s second encounter with the City Islanders, and City’s last regular season home match 🙁

WHEN: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St., Louisville, KY, 38.2562° N, 85.7447° W

WATCH: It’s the last home game. If you’re in town, you’re out of excuses. But if you’re out of town on orders of President Business post-Taco Tuesday, then here’s a stream:

WHO, AGAIN? In our last meeting with Harrisburg, we laughed at their stadium, their supporters group, and their goat farm field, and all that was fun because we beat them 1-5 behind a haberdashery from Matt Fondy. This time around, things are a little more serious. There’s a lot at stake in this game for both teams.

With a win, Louisville City clinches a playoff spot and puts some more distance between themselves and teams challenging for that second bye in the playoffs, plus a chance to secure home field advantage throughout the post-season against the entire league sans Rochester.

Harrisburg, on the other hand, is actually fifth in the standings from a points per game perspective, though they sit seventh in the table on points. While Richmond and Pittsburgh have more points, the City Islanders have games in hand against both teams. A win for them would go miles to help them eke into the playoffs, much like they did last year before going on a stunning run to meet eventual champions Sacramento Republic in the finals.

Since we last met the Team of Islands in the Stream, Harrisburg has continued their trend of winning or losing every other game. It’s remarkable: since June 27, every win has been followed by a loss. Lucky for Louisville City, the City Islanders beat Montreal 6-0 at home last weekend, and have had to make a not-fun road trip to Louisville to play the Royals midweek. Harrisburg has run hot and cold in its last few matches, beating Toronto 0-2 in Ontario, losing to Rochester 4-0, and then the aforementioned clobbering of Les Bleus et Blancs et Noirs et sometimes Grises. All that sets up for an 8-0 asskicking from Louisville City, unless it doesn’t.

And it might not. Louisville City will be without Kadeem Dacres, should probably let Conor Shanosky’s face stop bleeding, and will be on short rest for the second straight game. McCabe, who will probably start again in Kadeem’s place, doesn’t create as much width up front as we might like, and when he cuts in, it kind of crowds Matt Fondy out, as we saw on Saturday against Pittsburgh. I do look forward to seeing some tactical changes from O’Connor to keep Harrisburg from producing a repeat performance from that game.

WILDLY UNINFORMED PREDICTIONS: Louisville City wins 3-1. Harrisburg isn’t very good, no matter what that 6-0 whipping of Montreal might lead to you think. Louisville City tends to rebound very well after losses. It’s our last home game. Playoff position is on the line. Matt Fondy’s and his hair are PISSED. Let’s go get it.

COME ON, CITY.