BAYAMON, Puerto Rico (Sept. 15, 2012) — Minnesota Stars FC lost for first time in six matches Saturday night and remain winless all-time in Puerto Rico after suffering a 2-0 setback in Bayamon in their second-to-last North American Soccer League match of the season. Anthony Vazquez and David Foley scored for the Islanders, who avenged a 4-0 loss Tuesday night at NSC Stadium against the Stars. Puerto Rico had been winless in their previous six NASL games.
Michael Reed tested Puerto Rico goalkeeper Richard Martin with a free kick after just two minutes, but unlike Tuesday night in Blaine, the early going was mostly Puerto Rico, and the Islanders took the lead after 21 minutes as Vazquez outjumped his mark to head a David Foley free kick past an outstretched Mitch Hildebrandt.
The second half started on a brighter note for Minnesota, as Michael Reed and Nate Polak sent shots over the bar within seconds of each other in the 47th minute, but the Islanders could have stolen all the momentum in the 52nd minute, as Nicholas Addlery broke free of the Stars defense, but the Islanders’ leading scorer was unable to beat Hildebrandt, who came off his line well to stuff Addlery.
Hildebrandt made another great save in the 72nd minute, when he dove low to his left to tip a Jonathan Fana shot around the post to keep the Stars close, but Minnesota wasn’t able to close the gap with any meaningful shots on goal. As they pressed for an equalizer, Foley put the game away with five minutes to play to complete a stellar performance.
Substitute Hector Ramos weighted a through ball perfectly for the English forward, who beat Hildebrandt to the ball at the top of the box and rolled the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0 and ensure that the Stars remain winless in Bayamon.
Islanders Head Coach Adrian Whitbread said “It was a great and much needed win. I am very proud of my guys, especially after the difficult last couple of weeks the team has gone through”.
With the win, the Islanders put pressure on the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies in the race to clinch a bye into the semifinals of the NASL playoffs. The loss cost the Stars a chance to leapfrog the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Carolina RailHawks into fourth place in the NASL. The Stars can also now finish no higher than fourth in the final standings.