Bayamon, Puerto Rico – The Cleveland City Stars could not overcome giving up two first half goals in falling 2-1 Thursday against the Puerto Rico Islanders. The City Stars (1-7-1) scored a second half goal and had a few late chances but were unable to get a result.
The match started off fast for the home Islanders. In the 23rd minute Petter Villegas sent a cross from the right corner and Troy Roberts was called for a hand ball inside the box while attempting to shield off the Islanders and a penalty kick was set up. Cristian Arrieta took the kick and faked left before rolling the shot past the diving Hunter Gilstrap for a 1-0 Puerto Rico lead.
The Islanders kept up the attack in the 36th minute. Nicholas Adderly created in the midfield and found Villegas streaking up the right sideline. Villegas controlled the pass and quickly crossed into Sean Fraser and Fraser slid and redirected the ball past Gilstrap for the 2-0 lead.
The City Stars put together a nice attack in the 41st minute. After controlling into the attacking third, Pato Aguilera’s shot was deflected back to Stephane Guillaume. The pushed up defender sent a perfect ball up the sideline as Warren Kanu made an overlapping run. Kanu controlled and dribbled into a powerful shot but the attempt was sent directly into the path of awaiting goaltender Bill Gaudette.
After a quiet beginning to the second half, there was a flurry of action in the 57th minute. Addlery started the activity by receiving a long ball on the left corner of the box. The forward tried to sneak the ball into the near corner while forcing off a tough angle shot but Gilstrap was there to wrap it up for the save.
The Islanders controlled the ensuing kick and Villegas stormed up the right sideline and crossed into traffic but Aguilera was able to temporarily knock the ball out of harms way.
Just a few seconds later the Islanders controlled the clear out and Dominic Mediate received the ball within the 18 but was tackled by Julian Valentin before getting off a clean shot.
Gilstrap made another strong save in the 68th. Adderly spun into a powerful shot and the rocket was deflected off the leg of Valentin but Gilstrap made the last second adjustment and saved the goal.
The City Stars received a spark in the 72nd when recently subbed Ryan Stewart fielded a pass inside the box off a corner kick from Pato Aguilera. Stewart out muscled the defender and fired a shot past Baudette to cut the lead in half. It was Stewart’s first goal of the season after scoring four last season as a rookie. Aguilera has assisted on all three of the City Stars goals this season.
Gilstrap worked his magic again in the 82nd minute ass Addlery fired another clean bullet towards the keeper but Gilstrap made a jumping punch save and sent the ball over the cross bar to preserve the one goal deficit.
The City Stars had one more chance in the 89th minute. Godfrey Tenoff made a run up the left sideline before cutting in towards the box. The midfielder settled into a shot and curled a bending shot that looked to have Gaudette beat but the ball bounced off the cross bar and back into play before being cleared by the Islanders.
The City Stars had three corner kicks in extra time but were unable to capitalize.
Cleveland will look to get the season on track Saturday as the City Stars will remain in Puerto Rico for a rematch with the Islanders at 8 p.m. The match can be viewed live on www.ulslive.com.
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