BAYAMON,, Puerto Rico — The Atlanta Silverbacks fell to the Puerto Rico Islanders 2-0 on Wednesday night.
The Silverbacks looked lively early on, and forward Matt Horth, the team’s leading scorer, nearly made it 1-0 within the first five minutes. A miscommunication between Islanders goalkeeper Ray Burse and a defender allowed Horth to direct a sliding effort on goal; Burse, however, was able to make a kick save to keep the game scoreless.
Nearly five minutes later, the Silverbacks failed to convert two scoring chances: Midfielder Jordan Davis blasted a free kick off the crossbar from more than 30 yards out Less than a minute later, a header from defender Willie Hunt was cleared off the goal line.
In the 27th minute, Puerto Rico successfully got on the board. Islanders forward David Foley was played in on goal, and after dribbling through a pair of Silverbacks defenders, he slotted the ball past diving goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to give his team the one-goal lead.
The Islanders dominated the second half, controlling possession and creating several scoring chances. The home team’s hard work paid off when Islanders forward Kevon Villaroel was found wide open on the far side. Maurer, a Lawrenceville native, attempted to close down the angle, but Villaroel easily extended the Islanders’ lead.
Villaroel nearly tallied another goal late in the game, but Maurer made a point-blank save to keep the score 2-0. The Silverbacks weren’t able to create many second-half scoring opportunities, but forward Junior Sandoval came very close to getting the Silverbacks a consolation goal. Sandoval, who is with the Silverbacks on a season-long loan from the Islanders, sent the ball just wide of Burse’s net a few minutes before the final whistle.