9/29/2008 – The Puerto Rico Islanders will test their perfect record in Group D of the CONCACAF Champions League™ — and 16-game overall unbeaten streak — when they travel to Estadio Cementos Progreso in Guatemala City against winless CSD Municipal.
The Islanders haven’t lost in 12 matches in the United Soccer Leagues – the second division of North American Soccer — and four in Champions League, but must travel for the first time in group play on Wednesday.
«We have sent a clear message to the people of Puerto Rico that we are playing good football, for a team to play 16 games without losing — it is not coincidence, is just good work,» Islanders chairman Noble Guillemard said noting the team’s undefeated streak dates back to an 1 August match when they lost 2:1 to Seattle.
Last week’s 3:1 victory over Mexican league powerhouse Santos Laguna propelled Puerto Rico to the top of Group D with six points, sloshing through the rain with goals from Edwin Miranda, Noah Delgado and Osei Telesford.
Mexican newspaper El Siglo ridiculed Santos for the defeat but conceded the Islanders played «with punchy, heart and desire in their triumph over the fearful warriors».
Municipal nearly stole a point at Santos Laguna in its group opener, rallying from a two-goal deificit only to allow a goal in the last minute to lose 3:2. It failed late for a second straight time last week, allowing a goal in the sixth minute of injury time to fall 2:1 loss against Tauro FC in Panama.
Two own-goals, a penalty by Mario Acevedo and others by Edwin Villatoro and Juan Leguizamon on Sunday silenced the critics somewhat Sunday when Municipal rebounded with a 5-4 win over Jalapa to move atop the table in the Guatemalan Apertura. It led 5:2 by the 72nd minute, but allowed two goals in the final two minutes to knock some confidence out of the victory.
The Municipal-Puerto Rico game originally was scheduled for Guatemala City’s Estadio Mateo Flores but was moved across town because rain and recent events at the facility made the field unplayable.
Santos, meanwhile, hopes to overcome its loss to Puerto Rico and a 2:1 defeat on Sunday against Toluca – the latest in a four-game Mexican league winless streak – when it travels to Panama City to face Tauro FC in Group D’s other third-round clash.
As players and coaching staff practiced under cloudy skies at their training facility over the weekend defender Jorge Ivan Estrada remained upbeat.
«We have appeared to be an uncomfortable side right now after our latest results but we must face up and take this forward. We had a little slump, but we have a good chance to lift our spirits by playing like we are capable.