In week 3 USSF D2 action this week, the visiting Puerto Rico Islanders defeated Crystal Palace Baltimore 3-1 Saturday, after earlier opening up their season Wednesday with another 3-1 victory over NSC Minnesota in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. NSC Minnesota, coached by Manny Lagos, opened their home season Saturday with their second victory of the season, downing Paul Dalglish’s FC Tampa Bay 1-0. AC St. Louis had a rough West Coast trip, losing 3-0 to Portland on Thursday and 1-0 to Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. In Sunday action. 13,000 fans crowded Saputo Stadium in Montreal and witnessed a 1-1 draw between the Impact and Portland. The Rochester Rhinos came away with 3 points on their visit to Austin in a Sunday evening tilt, and Carolina played a friendly against the Mexican Olympic team.
Crystal Palace Baltimore played its second home game of the young season, but red-hot Puerto Rico were too much to handle, and CP Baltimore dropped to 0-2-0 while the Islanders improved to 2-0-0. CP Baltimore’s Randi Patterson missed two chances in the first half and was subbed at halftime. Puerto Rico took the lead in the 26th minute on a headed goal by Nicholas Adderly, from Sandy Gbandi’s free kick. Josh Hansen added another goal for Puerto Rico late in the half, and scored on a penalty kick in the second. Matthew Mbuta spoiled Islander goalkeeper Bill Gaudette’s shutout with an 89th minute penalty kick. After the game, CP Baltimore coach Jim Cherneski commented on the team’s website “Obviously it’s a disappointing loss. If you watched the game, you might say we outplayed the Islanders but the bottom line is that we lost 3-1. There are things we have to tighten up defensively – we conceded on two set pieces and gave up a questionable penalty, although that was soon followed by a clear penalty that didn’t get called. The fans enjoyed an attacking game, we created a few chances but it’s not good enough. It’s all about results.” CP Baltimore begins a five game road trip with a visit to AB Soccer Park next Saturday to take on AC St. Louis.
NSC Minnesota Stars, in their first home game, evened their record at 2-2-0 with a 1-0 win over FC Tampa Bay Rowdies. According to Inside Minnesota Soccer’s Brian Quarstad, the match was already rough and tumble, with two yellow cards handed out prior to the 32nd minute escapades, in which Tampa Bay’s Gordon Klejstan was red carded for elbowing the Stars’ Andres Arrango in the face, and the Stars were granted a penalty kick. Unfortunately for NSC Minnesota, defender Brian Kallman rushed downfield to join in the resulting scuffle, and he also received a red card, leaving both teams with 10 men. Midfielder Leilei Gao successfully took the penalty kick, which was the only goal needed as Joe Warren kept Tampa at bay and recorded another clean sheet, despite FC Tampa Bay dominating second half possession. The Rowdies drop to 1-1-0.
Sunday in Montreal, the Impact hosted Portland and could only reward the big crowd with a 1-1 draw, as the defending USL-1 champions are now 0-1-1 while Portland stands at 2-0-1. Ryan Pore, the Timbers’ scoring machine, knocked in his 4th goal in three games in the 67th minute, while Montreal captain Nevio Pizzolitto equalized for the Impact Montreal on a penalty kick in the 81st minute. Montreal defender Adam Braz played in his 125th career game for the Impact. Also on Sunday, the Austin Aztex fell at home to the Rochester Rhinos, 2-1. Andrew Hoxie converted an early penalty kick for Rochester after Aztex’ goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo upended the Rhino’s Anthony Hamilton as he broke free deep in Aztex territory. Gallardo also received a yellow card for the foul.
AC St. Louis had a tough time on the West Coast. Following Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Portland, in which AC St. Louis’ defensive miscues led to three unanswered goals, AC St. Louis took on Vancouver Saturday. The Whitecaps dominated the first half, leading in corner kicks 5-1, but only scored once, on a 19th minute goal by Mamoud Akloul, who broke his ankle on the play. AC St. Louis played much better defensively in the second half, and kept more possession, but were not able to mount any offense in Vancouver’s defensive end and had only one shot. Vancouver keeper Jay Nolly kept a clean sheet without having to make a save. AC St. Louis seeks its first points of the season against Crystal Palace Baltimore next Saturday at AB Soccer Park.