Puerto Rico failed to hold onto a second-half lead for the second consecutive week as Saprissa escaped with a 1-1 draw against Puerto Rico Islanders
A week after squandering a two-goal lead against Cruz Azul, Puerto Rico allowed Saprissa to score an equalizer deep in stoppage time.
The result gives Saprissa four points while Puerto Rico sit at the bottom of Group C. Cruz Azul leads the group with seven points while Columbus have six. The two will meet on Wednesday in Ohio.
Puerto Rico were the aggressors in the match and were seemingly desperate to get a victory in their second home match. After losses at the Crew and at Saprissa, Puerto Rico needed maximum points at home to have a shot to escape the group, particularly since the Islanders left two points on the table in their 3-3 tie against Cruz Azul.
Puerto Rico finally broke through in the 72nd minute. Fabrice Noel dribbled down the left side on a counterattack. He sent the ball over to the right side to Nicholas Addlery, who quickly squared a pass to the front of the goal.
Josh Hansen stood a few feet in front of the goal line but was not in an offside position. He knocked the ball into the underside of the roof and gave the hosts a deserved 1-0 lead.
The Islanders were within sight of their first victory of this year's group stage and needed only to hold off the Costa Ricans. Cristian Arrieta nearly gave Puerto Rico a two-goal lead in the 83rd minute when he fired a 25-yard shot on goal that Keilor Navas had to dive to parry away.
Saprissa began to mount a furious comeback and rescued a point deep in stoppage time.
In the third minute of injury time, Michael Barrantes held the ball far on the left sideline. Barrantes sent a long cross to the front of the goal and Kendall Watson jumped for the ball. He got position on a defender and hit a well-placed header on goal. Puerto Rico's Bill Gaudette dived for the ball but could not stop it from going into the back of the net.
As soon as the ball kicked off to resume play, the match referee blew the game dead, as Puerto Rico ultimately needed only to have held on for about 30 seconds more to have earned the victory.
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