July 4 (Minnesota)- Puerto Rico fell 0 - 4 this past Wednesday in the Fourth of July Showdown against the Minnesota Stars FC. The Islanders started the match positioned at 2nd in the NASL table, four points above the Stars. Puerto Rico will be happy to return home after a tough loss for their next match Saturday at Bayamon Soccer Complex at 7:30PM.
It was a bitter loss for an Islanders side, which had been playing well as of late. Manager Adrian Whitbread spoke after the game: “That was a reality check for everybody tonight, even including myself”.
Minnesota started lively and struck first in the 17th minute through a Martin Nunez header. Miguel Ibarra assisted the goal for his 2nd assist of the year.
The Islanders came close in the 26th when Noah Delgado sent a nicely weighted pass through the Stars’ 5-yard box, but Jonathan Faña could not quite put his foot to it.
The Stars played some great football at the twilight of the second half, seemingly enjoying being back on their home field. They formed organized triangles based out of their defense, and appeared creative and fluid in their attacking play.
They found a way through to goal just before the halftime whistle by way of forward Simone Bracalello. A creative buildup finalized with a driven ball into the box and the Italian put home to sink the Islanders again for a crucial goal before they headed into the locker room for halftime. The teams hit the tunnel with the score 2-0.
The Stars came out firing from the halftime whistle just as they had from the start of the game. Uruguayan ex-Islander Martin Nunez struck his second to make it 3-0 after 57 minutes.
The Islanders responded well after falling deep in debt, and second half sub Osei Telesford almost leveled at the 63rd minute mark. The Islanders were also disallowed a goal in the 74th.
The Stars kept blasting off, and hit again at 80 minutes flat. Forward Amani Walker found himself inexplicably unmarked at the top of the box, and performed a composed finish for the Stars 4th goal, and his 4th of the season.
The Islanders manager also told PRIslandersFC.com: “It’s back to the drawing board. There is no substitute for hard work”.
FC Edmonton visits Bayamon Soccer Complex at 7:30PM Saturday 7th of July, and La Tropa Naranja will look to regroup and seal some increasingly important mid-season points back on the island.
Match recap - David Katz
Pictures - Jeremy Olson