Cayman started very forcefully going after Puerto Rico straight from the kick-off and creating a half chance within the first 10 seconds, with top spot in the Group on the line, they were obviously up for the battle. However, the match soon settled into a similar pattern to Puerto Rico’s previous two victories, despite the conditions they managed to keep good possession of the ball and attacked with regularity down the both wings.
In the 11th minute they created their first good chance with a header from a corner, John Krause, the centre back looking to add to his goal tally after scoring on Monday but the attempt went just over the bar. Immediately after Krause’s chance Puerto Rico were on the move again, a sweeping passing move that started in the left back position resulted in a shot from Wilson on the right side of the area that deserved better, he failed to hit the target when the home crowd was willing a goal.
Cayman were looking to counter attack and in the 15th minute came so close to scoring, a through ball down the inside right channel for Mark Ebanks resulted in the striker nearly scoring a goal precisely the same to the one he scored on Monday, he left Terence Boss in the Puerto Rico goal helpless with his one touch strike on the turn only to see his shot rebound off the post. It was extremely unlucky for the striker as he appeared to do everything right. Coach Carl Brown commented after the match “at this level it is very important we take our chances and this effort was a clear cut as you can hope for, we were very unfortunate not to score.”
In the 25th minute, a typical build up from the Puerto Rican’s down the right flank resulted in an excellent cross delivered by Tyler Wilson straight to Chris Megaloudis who powered a super shot into the back of the net. He set Puerto Rico on their way in stylish fashion and the home support showed their appreciation as the team celebrated.
Cayman then had two efforts before half-time both from Ebanks, one was a long range effort but the second was from close range when he managed to beat the last defender inside the box, however goal keeper Boss came out quickly to make a very brave save at the feet of the attacker. The pace of Ebanks definitely looked like the most likely route for Cayman to level the match.
Cayman opened the better team in the second period, and for the first time in this Group A we witnessed a team enjoy a sustained period of pressure against Puerto Rico. Unfortunately for them, they did not manage to create any real clear cut chance, the Puerto Rican defense stood firm.
As expected Puerto Rico did come into it more as the half wore on. This opened the counter attack route to Cayman once again. It was that man Ebanks through again on 60 minutes when Cayman broke with pace from a Puerto Rico corner, this time the oncoming Boss did just enough to put Ebanks off as he fired barely over the target. Cayman’s next serious opportunity was on 87 minutes when Whitelock had a free kick in a dangerous area twenty five yards from goal, however it was a tame effort in the end and did not trouble the keeper. From the resulting possession Puerto Rico when the length of the field and great play from Peter Villegas in getting to the left hand bye line before pulling it back for the oncoming Figueroa to fire Puerto Rico home and in the process to the top of Group A of the Digicel Cup.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for Cayman when on 71 minutes Mario Rene got sent off for a straight red card, it highlighted Cayman’s frustration at not being able to break down the Puerto Rican’s. Coach Brown was not too disappointed with the performance, “while I was not happy with the result I was really pleased with the performance, we competed very well against a good Puerto Rican team.”
Coach Colin Clarke from Puerto Rico said, “this is a very big result for soccer in this country, I am very pleased we captured a maximum six points”, he added “the Digicel Cup is a very important competition, we have ambition to qualify for the Gold Cup so we must regroup for the next stage in a few weeks.”
Team Captain for the evening and the scorer of the opening goal Chris Megaloudis enjoyed the victory, “I was delighted to score such a good goal and I was honoured to Captain my country tonight. It is every footballers ambition, I really hope we can progress to the Finals of the Digicel Cup.”
Peurto Rico advance to stage 2 of the Digicel Cup with maximum points from their three games. Cayman Islands finish runners-up so must wait their fate when the runners-up from Group’s B and C are known. Only two runners-up from the three groups will go through to Stage 2.