8/12/2012- (EDMONTON)- The Puerto Rico Islanders, missing 10 players due to the upcoming friendly in Puerto Rico August 15th at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium against Spain, fell to FC Edmonton in a hard fought Sunday matinee. The Islanders now sit third in the NASL table with 34 points. Edmonton sees their point tally climb to 21 total. The Islanders return home on Saturday, August 18, to play the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at their newly renovated permanent home, Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium.
"Tough one this afternoon. I do not like excuses, but the fact is that it took us two days to get to Edmonton and with no time for training, you could see it took a toll on the team judging by their lack of energy during the first half. Things could have been different on the second half, but now we focus on our return home to our new stadium next Saturday." said Head Coach Adrian Whitbread after the match ended.
The game started fairly evenly and was littered with a few strong tackles from Osei Telesford in the opening minutes of the game. Both teams managed a few corners, but could not produce anything overly threatening. For the Islanders, Jonathan Faña was almost slipped in through the heart of the Eddies defense, but he was ruled to be offside.
The home side staged their offensive at the 26th minute and did not let off for the rest of the game. Eddies' winger Kenny Caceros lofted a well-weighted ball into the box, inches over the Islanders’ center defense. But Canadian striker Shaun Saiko could only push his open header wide of the net.
It was the same player combination that crafted FC Edmonton’s goal. The winger played in a sweeping cross to the top of the box that Saiko bounced off the turf and lashed into the goal on a half volley for 1-0. It is Saiko’s 6th on the year.
It was the Eddies again with the next chance, as on-loan midfielder Bryan Arguez sent a venomous free kick just over the bar in the 39th.
Before the halftime whistle, Saiko thumped a free kick against the bar. The ricochet fell to the Eddies Kyle Porter and it took something special from Richard Martin to keep the header out.
The teams entered the tunnel with the score 1-0.
The Canadian home side started the second half just as the first ended. It was a mixture of luck and great goalkeeping from Richard Martin that managed to blank the Eddies in the second half.
One of the most notable chances came in the 60th minute. Richard Martin could not hold a dangerously weighted pass in a crowded area and the ball bounced to the opportunistic Shaun Saiko, who planted the open chance against the post. The rebound fell to Barthélémy, who had his shot blocked by a sprawling Edward.
The Islanders weathered a continuous Edmonton attack and almost leveled through Nicholas Addlery. The team celebrated Addlery’s finish, but the party was ended by an outstretched offside flag.
Richard Martin came off his line well a variety of times to combat Edmonton and new defender Pari Pantazopoulos turned in a solid defensive effort for the Islanders.
Canadian-born defender Edson Edward came close in the concluding minutes for the Islanders, but his effort sailed wide of lance Parker’s net. The game ended 1-0 in strange match that could have produced a very different scoreline.
Again, the Islanders will begin their campaign at "la Islandera", Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: www.tlfoto.ca