Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Crystal Palace Baltimore
Baltimore MD – Crystal Palace Baltimore were beaten 3-1 by the Puerto Rico Islanders at UMBC Stadium tonight in the second game of the USSF D-2 Pro League season for both sides. A pair of goals from the Islanders’ Josh Hansen and one from teammate Nicholas Addlery gave the visitors an insurmountable advantage, making the Baltimore club pay for several missed chances. Mathew Mbuta scored a consolation goal for Palace from the penalty spot in the waning moments of the game.
Palace Baltimore head coach, Jim Cherneski commented on the defeat: «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.»
Palace right wing Tsuyoshi Yoshitake gave Puerto Rico left back Scott Jones a torrid time throughout the first half, earning several corners in the process. But Palace had perhaps their best chance of the entire game on 14 minutes when Palace captain Neto lofted a perfect ball up to forward Randi Patterson 10 yards out, but he directed his header straight at Puerto Rico ’keeper Bill Gaudette. The Islanders came close a minute later from a free kick that whistled a foot past Chase Harrison’s left post.
The visitors took the lead on 26 minutes when Sandy Gbandi’s deep free kick from the right found an unmarked Nicholas Addlery, who headed back across goal out of the reach of Harrison. With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Randi Patterson was once again the recipient of a pinpoint cross inside the penalty box. This time the delivery was to his feet but his first touch let him down and the Islanders’ defense cleared their lines. The Trinidad and Tobago international’s final chance of the half came soon after when he blazed an effort three feet over the bar from 20 yards out. This turned out to be Patterson’s final chance of the game as he was replaced at half time by Gary Brooks. Before the first period ended however, the Islanders doubled their lead when Josh Hansen controlled a long ball near the left post, wrong-footed Palace right back Takuro Nishimura and fired home from close range.
The introduction of Brooks reinvigorated the Palace attack but, despite dominating possession in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, the final ball was lacking. It appeared Palace had pulled one back on 50 minutes when Lucio’s long free kick caused Gaudette all sorts of problems in the Islanders’ goal. The delivery was intended as a cross, but the ball sailed towards the far corner of the goal and the Puerto Rico ’keeper barely managed to hold on as he fell backwards into his own net. Several Baltimore players claimed the ball had crossed the line but the referee and his assistant waved away their protests.
A second Palace substitution nearly paid dividends on 72 minutes when Cuban striker Yaikel Perez, who had replaced Yoshitake in the 65th minute, tried to flick Neto’s clever pass inside the near post, but the effort would only ruffle the side netting. The 75th minute brought controversy when Palace defender Shaun Pejic tangled with an Islanders forward in the box and the assistant referee flagged for a foul in Baltimore’s favor. The center referee ignored his colleague however pointing straight to the penalty spot. After an extended discussion between the two officials, the penalty decision stood and Josh Hansen converted from the spot to put the game beyond Palace. Three minutes later, balance was restored when a blatant foul in the Palace penalty area was somehow missed by the officials.
With two minutes remaining in the game, Perez was presented with another chance close in, but instead of shooting first time, he tried to turn his marker and his shot was blocked. The next minute, Mathew Mbuta’s attempted cross flew into the arm of a Puerto Rico defender and the referee had the easiest of decisions. Mbuta took the penalty himself sending Gaudette the wrong way to put Palace on the scoresheet at last.
The loss leaves Palace with a 0-2 record as they prepare to head off on a marathon five-game road trip starting in St. Louis on May 1st.