In six previous NASL and CFU matches this season, the Islanders had yet to be defeated. That run ended Wednesday night in Minnesota, as the Stars beat Puerto Rico 2-0.
It was just last week that Justin Davis was handed his first professional start. Tonight, he scored his first professional goal. The breakthrough came from a beautiful team goal that Davis started in the midfield before the ball eventually found him again in the Puerto Rico box after a nice pass from Ely Allen. Davis slotted home the shot past goalkeeper Ray Burse, in the 62nd minute to give Minnesota the advantage. Devin Del Do doubled the advantage just 10 minutes later on an assist from Lucas Rodriguez. Del Do just had to get a toe on the ball in the box to make it 2-0.
The Islanders threatened late, but the three points never looked like they would slip away from Minnesota. A Cristiano foul set Puerto Rico up with a free kick 20 yards from goal, but the three-touch free kick was slow developing and Joseph Salem slammed his free kick off an onrushing Rodriguez. Three minutes later, David Foley found himself alone with Warren, but the Stars’ goalkeeper came off his line well to close off the angle and direct the ball wide. In stoppage time, Rodriguez nearly added another insurance goal for the Stars, but his shot after Del Do fought to maintain possession in the Islanders’ box, was blocked before reaching goal.
With the win, the Stars improve their record to 3-1-3 with 12 points. The win moves them two points clear of the Islanders, now 3-1-1-, and FC Edmonton, who sit level on 10 points. The Stars travel to Edmonton next Monday for a showdown with FC Edmonton that could help move either side clear at the top of the NASL table.
The Stars will look to continue their unbeaten run and new-found winning streak away to FC Edmonton on May 23 at Foote Field. The Puerto Rico Islanders will be out of league action until June 1 when they return home to La Islandera for a rematch against Minnesota. Puerto RIco’s next match will be against Alpha United FC in the CFU Club Champions Cup Semifinals on May 25.
Minnesota 2, Puerto Rico 0
MIN - Justin Davis 1 (Ely Allen 1) - 62
MIN - Devin Del Do 2 (Lucas Rodriguez 1) - 73
PRI - Jamie Cunningham, caution (unsporting behavior) - 65
PRI - Joseph Salem, caution (unsporting behavior) - 85
PRI - David Foley, caution (unsporting behavior) - 90+2
Shots 13 7
Shots on goal 4 6
Corners 6 5
Offside 5 4
Fouls 9 12
Saves 6 2
Yellow cards 0 3
Red cards 0 0
Weather: 68, partly cloudy
(Photo by Jeremy Olson)