SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – The Puerto Rico Islanders withstood a man disadvantage for the entire second half, and held on for a 0-0 draw with CD FAS on Wednesday that did little to help either side’s chances in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The result improved Puerto Rico to five points, two behind Group D leader Toluca and one ahead of Olimpia – who were to face off in Honduras on Thursday. FAS remained in last with two points with two rounds remaining. Two teams advance to the quarterfinals.
Puerto Rico had to play the final 45 minutes with only 10 men. Noah Delgado was issued a red card by Mexican referee Paul Delgadillo just before halftime for a slide tackle that ended with the 30-year-old midfielder’s extended right foot crashing through Gustavo Lopez’s right knee.
Lopez was carried off the field and eventually returned. He was replaced in the 67th minute by Donny Valle.
FAS was playing its first game under Jorge Abrego, an assistant for coach Alberto Rujana who replaced his boss on Monday. FAS has won only one game in seven in the Salvadoran Apertura this season, and is in last place. Rujana was fired after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at ninth-place Atletico Marte.
FAS had the majority of possession from the start and forced Puerto Rico keeper Bill Gaudette into more gymnastics to keep his side even. Gaudette punched clear a swerving free kick from Gilberto Murgas in the 16th but was called on in the 31st to tip just over the bar a free kick by Christian Alvarez that was flicked on at the edge of the six-yard box by Alejandro Bentos.
Delgado had one of the Islanders’ few chances in the first half, running onto a header before striking a left-footed effort just wide of the right post from the edge of the area.
But despite playing short-handed, Puerto Rico had the better chances in the second half.
David Horst headed high in the 49th from three yards and an unmarked Jonathan Fana was denied by FAS goalkeeper Luis Contreras in the 53rd after a ball from Keon Daniel skipped through the area.
An unmarked Christopher Nurse also headed high after Daniel’s corner was headed the ball into top of the six by Horst.
For Puerto Rico, the match was the eighth in 29 days, part of a stretch that will have the Islanders play 10 matches in 32 days. It was their third consecutive goalless match since a 3-1 USSF D2 league victory over the Austin Aztecs on September 11.