The Atlanta Silverbacks fell, 3-0, to the Puerto Rico Islanders Wednesday night at the Bayamón Soccer Complex in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
The Islanders came into Wednesday’s contest atop the NASL standings, and early on they showed why. Islanders midfielder Gregory Richardson fired a bending drive towards the low corner in the 7th minute, but Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco, making his first professional start, was up to the task, parrying the shot wide.
The Silverbacks began to settle into the game, though, and in the 12th minute, Silverbacks forward and league-leading goal scorer Reinaldo Navia nearly put his team ahead. The Chilean pounced on a giveaway from the Islanders defense, and an impressive tip of the foot save from Islanders goalkeeper Richard Martin was the only thing in the way of an early Silverbacks lead.
Navia became the provider in the 34th minute, slotting in midfielder Borfor Carr on goal, but the Liberian’s shot rattled the far post and fell wide after beating Martin.
The Islanders came close to scoring on the stroke of halftime, with the active Jonathan Faña testing Nasco. The goalkeeper was able to hold Faña’s low drive through traffic, though, keeping the score at 0-0 after one half.
The second half opened under unfortunate circumstances for the Silverbacks, with defender Martyn Lancaster being shown a red card for hauling down Faña in the penalty area. Nasco saved the ensuing penalty kick from midfielder David Foley, but Foley’s follow-up header inched over the line to give the home team a 1-0 advantage.
Despite being down to 10 men, the Silverbacks had a pair of quality scoring chances nearly help them climb back. Midfielder Danilo Turcios had a strong shot saved by Martin, and forward Matt Horth’s shot fell inches wide just seconds later.
The Islanders took over in the 78th minute when midfielder Hector Ramos converted a cross from six yards out to make it 2-0.
Six minutes later, it was substitute forward Tyler Wilson finding the net courtesy of an assist from forward Josh Hansen. The game represented the fifth shutout for the first-place Islanders this season, and kept them in prime position in the NASL standings.