First published on IMSoccer News
The Puerto Rico Islanders defeated the San Antonio Scorpions 2-1 with a brace from Nicholas Addlery. The spirited match was played at Heroes Stadium on Sunday evening in front of 10,183 fans.
This match was highly touted in San Antonio as a rivalry in the making with both teams at the top of the table and each claiming wins on each other’s home field. The Islanders embarrassed the Scorpions 4-0 in San Antonio’s home debut. The Scorpions returned the favor with a 2-0 win over the Islanders in mid June at Bayamon Soccer Complex. Puerto Rico won the third match 1-0 at home on July 11th, in a heated affair that caused post-match suspensions that impacted Sunday’s match.
Starting Scorpions goalkeeper Daryl Sattler, and Islanders midfielder Osei Telesford, were both suspended by the league due to an incident which occurred in the mid-July game. The importance of the match to Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson was obvious as he arranged for Houston Dynamo back up goalkeeper, Tyler Deric, to be loaned to his club for just this one match. Back up ‘keeper Pat Hannigan had only recently returned to the squad after a long absence due to injury.
The Scorpions started the match with some patient possession, pinning the Islanders back and stifling any attack through the center of the park. Puerto Rico didn’t seem threatening to start the game but did manage to penetrate with an early chance on goal.
In the thirteenth minute Josue Soto drifted inward from the right side and let loose a solid shot at Islander ‘keeper Richard Martin forcing an early save. This seemed to awaken the home team and a few attacks led to some serious pressure on Puerto Rico’s defense.
Pablo Campos was taken down around the 28th minute and Walter Ramirez stepped up and blasted a free kick wide and to the left.
Almost immediately the Islanders answered with a through ball right above the eighteen yard box, unleashing top scorer Nick Addlery who finished with confidence to the bottom left of Deric. The goal was scored in the 31st minute.
Just before halftime, the Islanders’ Hector Ramos, who had a great performance on the night, gathered the ball and ran at the Scorpions’ defense and was fouled, setting up a free kick. Noah Delgado sent a shot to the top left corner that Deric saved nicely. Puerto Rico finished the half on the attack with a few solid offensive opportunities and winning the midfield battles.
Puerto Rico started the second half as they ended the first half with some dangerous offensive opportunities in front of San Antonio’s goal. Things developed nicely for the Islanders when in the 50th minute Addlery was set free due to some sloppy defensive play from the Scorpions and Deric was forced to come out early but was beaten to the ball by Addlery, who slotted it past the ‘keeper making the score 2-0.
Almost immediately afterward a long ball from deep in San Antonio’s half went over the top to a racing Esteban Bayona who collected himself under pressure and got the shot past Martin but the ball rolled into the bar denying the Colombian and the Scorpions an opening goal.
Bayona put in a solid performance but made way for new signing Jeff Cunningham to make his San Antonio debut. Hans Denissen also received his first playing time after coming back from injury and both players began contributing immediately.
On the 70th minute Campos broke free from a back pass and capitalized on a sloppy play from the Islanders’ defense. He headed the ball over advancing Islanders goalkeeper Richard Martin and followed the ball into the net for the goal. Although San Antonio was never truly out of the game they were certainly not playing their finest match at Heroes Stadium.
After the goal, the Scorpions pressed the Puerto Rico Islanders’ defense with some strong attacks from both flanks but Denissen was clearly the linchpin on the left flank. Cunningham also contributed but looked distracted by coming into the midfield looking to get involved in the attack on several occasions and never gathered any momentum going forward in order to make a significant impact.
The Puerto Rico Islanders ended the game on top and leave San Antonio victorious in the season series. The two clubs share a commonality on the field in style of play and grittiness but their competitiveness is making the clubs hate playing each other and has turned the competition into something beyond a regular match, regardless of the context.
“The first half, we were outplayed in the midfield. We were trying too hard to defend their quickness and speed. In the second half we did better and started to create chances but overall they had the upper hand on us tonight. It’s unfortunate we didn’t come with our best tonight because you need your best in order to beat that team,” said Hankinson.
“They have two chances, they score two goals. They were definitely ready to play, credit to them they did really well,” said Scorpions captain Kevin Harmse.
More on the suspensions to Sattler and Telesford.
The NASL was contacted during the match to get more information on the suspensions to Sattler and Telesford. According to the league, Sattler and Telesford were not disciplined by officials but were caught in the video of the July 11th match getting into a confrontation that saw “a melee involving all 22 players.” NASL Commissioner David Downs told IMS that it was their decision to suspend the two players for one game and to apply that suspension to the last meeting between the two teams in hopes of ”reducing tensions between the two teams.”
Speaking about the decision to suspend Sattler, Coach Hankinson said after the match, “The league decided they needed to sit it out against each other. I look at the confrontation against Puerto Rico, the two players kind of went head-to-head over a foul to another player and there was no yellow card or verbal warning. To me it was not the right decision to suspend, but it was a league decision and they will do what they feel is best for the league.”