It will be a battle at the top of the table when the first place San Antonio Scorpions travel to Bayamón Soccer Complex this Wednesday, July 11th, at 7:30 p.m. to face the second place Puerto Rico Islanders. The Islanders will play their second consecutive home match after playing away for three in a row. The Islanders look to grab a share of the points lead at the head of the NASL table.
This will be the third meeting between two of the league’s top sides. In just the second week of the season, the Islanders traveled to Heroes Stadium and secured full points with a 4-0 drubbing. But San Antonio returned the favor by shutting out the Islanders 2-0 at Bayamón in June. It will be a mid-week, 6-pt clash between some of the league’s elite, with both teams gunning for sole possession of the spoils.
Manager Adrian Whitbread spoke to the Islanders website before the game: “Well, no player should need motivation for any game but playing the league leaders at any level should bring out the best in any player. I have done all my talking to the players and they know what I expect from them but above all, they should know what to expect from themselves”.
SCOUTING SAN ANTONIO
San Antonio has taken 9 points from their last four matches, including a 2-0 win against the Islanders. They have only dropped to Tampa Bay Rowdies on a pair of late goals. It took an NASL Player of the Week performance from Tsuyoshi Yoshitake to top the league leaders.
ISLANDERS’ LAST TIME OUT
The Puerto Rico Islanders seemed to enjoy their last time out at Bayamón Soccer Complex against FC Edmonton. It took an unusual goal to breach the Islanders' defense when Kyle Porter’s driven cross found the back of the net untouched. Jonathan Faña notched his 4th goal of the year and Gregory Richardson and Hector “Pito” Ramos provided additional attacking pressure.
Puerto Rico is enjoying a wealth of strikers at the moment: Jonathan Faña, Héctor Ramos, David Foley and Nicholas Addlery are all fit and in form up top for the Islanders. They will be looking to net against a Scorpion’s defense that has only conceded in one of its last six league play matches.
This Wednesday’s match will bring together the goalkeepers with the top two goals against averages in the NASL. Daryl Sattler (0.54) leads the NASL and Richard Martin of the Islanders (1.00) sits second. Martin has tallied 50 saves to Sattler’s 25. This statistic helps to show Martin’s efficiency, as well as the strength of San Antonio’s defense, with a keeper tops on GAA, but with half the amount of saves of the second place keeper.
This Saturday, July 14th the Islanders travel to Atlanta to square off against Eric Wynalda and the Atlanta Silverbacks. Fans can watch the game at the Islanders' Watch Party in Coladas Fine Puerto Rican Cuisine and Frozen Drink Bar at Verdanza Hotel in Isla Verde, starting at 7:00 p.m.
By David Katz