METAPAN- Puerto Rico could not hang on in El Salvador and fell to A.D. Isidro Metapán 3-1 on Wednesday night. The Islanders found themselves up 1-0 after a Nicholas Addlery goal. But after going down to 10 men, they ceded a second half hat trick to Nico Muñoz of the El Salvadorian home side. The Islanders will face the LA Galaxy away in California on August 29th. Their next league match will be in San Antonio on August 5th against the top of the table Scorpions.
"Metapan is a tough team and this is a tough place to play. It is always dificult when you go down to 10 men. Now we have to focus on the three games left in the group stage. I am very proud of the boys. They put in a great effort." said Head Coach Adrian Whitbread.
The Islanders, particularly captain Noah Delgado, started the game out positively. In the 7th minute, Delgado swerved his way into the box and played a reverse ball to Jonathan Faña, but the striker was just ruled offside before the chance materialized. The skipper almost found a way through again in the 14th as he was slipped in by a slick throw in but he was not able to strike with any malice.
The goal for the Islanders came in the 25th minute. Edson Edward sent a lofted free kick into the box and Nicholas Addlery collected the ball, turned, and finished to put Puerto Rico ahead.
Moments later, defender Jay Needham was sent off on a straight red for contact to the face of a Metapán attacking player. Faña was sacrificed for new signing central defender Christian Ibeagha to fill in the maimed back line.
The islanders, of course, after going down to 10 men with a lead, played defensively and looked for the counter attack. They scrambled to halftime with the 1-0 lead.
It was the home side, up a man, that took the initiative in the second half. The equalizer came in the 52nd minute. Metapán stretched the field and a wide cross was met for a simple headed finish by Nico Muñoz.
Muñoz wasn’t finished and hoisted up and powered home his second "cabezazo" for 2-1 in the 57th.
The "Tropa Naranja" did their best to hold down the fort and effectively did so until the 88th, when a Muñoz poached his third for 3-1, sliding in after tightroping the offside line for his hat trick.
Chris Nurse came colse to netting a consolation goal for the Islanders, but his powerful header passed just over the bar. Shortly after, the final whistle blew with the final score A.D. Isidro Metapán 3-1 Puerto Rico Islanders.