ST. PETERSBURG — The opportunities were available for FC Tampa Bay to record its second win in two games to start the North American Soccer League season.
Much as it did in a season-opening victory against Montreal, Tampa Bay used rapid-fire passing to move the ball through the midfield and hold possession a majority of the time Sunday.
Tampa Bay fired 23 shots at Puerto Rico goalkeeper Ray Burse and held the Islanders to just 10.
The Islanders (2-0) capitalized on the few chances they had, scoring twice on Tampa Bay defensive lapses in a 2-0 victory before 2,913 at Al Lang Field.
"Goals change games. Goals win games," Tampa Bay coach Ricky Hill said. "And unfortunately for us tonight, we didn't manage to take any of the chances we did create."
Tampa Bay (1-1) started sluggish and paid for it by giving up a score in the 35th minute. From his goal, Burse blasted a kick the length of the field over the Tampa Bay defense. Puerto Rico's David Foley corralled the ball on the right edge of the box and crossed to Jonathan Fana on the far post. Fana had trouble settling the ball but, with two defenders on his hip, he slipped a deflected shot past goalkeeper Daryl Sattler for a 1-0 lead that Puerto Rico took into halftime.
"We were just unlucky on that one," Tampa Bay defender Frankie Sanfilippo said.
Tampa Bay came out of the break with a higher energy level, sending wave after wave at Burse. In the 55th minute, Tsuyoshi Yoshitake got off a right-footed cross that Pascal Millien tried to bicycle-kick into goal. Millien's shot was deflected to Aaron King, who attempted a half-volley, but his shot was knocked away before it reached Burse.
In the 63rd minute, second-half substitute Warren Ukah just missed tying the score after his first touch on King's behind-the-back through-ball was too far in front and snared by Burse.
A minute later, King fought through three defenders to chase down a loose ball near the goal and fired a right-footed shot that forced a diving stop from Burse, who finished with six saves.
"Second half, totally different. Really enjoyed some of our play. Really enjoyed the tempo," Hill said. "… I was generally heartened by the second-half performance."
Puerto Rico scored in the 79th minute to add to its lead. Three Tampa Bay defenders surrounded Fana and stripped the Islanders midfielder of the ball. Miscommunication between the Tampa Bay defenders, however, led to Fana swooping in to retake the ball. He scored easily.
"With the goals, it was a mistake," Sanfilippo said. "They had an opportunity and they scored. They played off our mistakes."