The Bahamas was unable to get on the scoreboard for a second straight game in senior men’s soccer, dropping their first leg matchup against Nicaragua, 2-0, on Friday evening. The match was the third in seven days for both teams as the first window in the 2022/2023 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Nations League continues.
It was the first time in history that these two teams played each other.
Playing at home at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, The Bahamas went toe to toe with Nicaragua early on as they defended the visitors well. The match appeared like it was going to be scoreless at the half, but a defensive breakdown by the home team left Jaime Moreno with enough time for a header on the left side of the penalty area in the 40th minute. He sent the ball past the right side of the Bahamian goalkeeper Julio Jemison and into the back of the net.
Nicaragua added a second-half goal to complete the scoring.
Assistant coach of the Bahamian team Kevin Davies said it was a tough loss, but he was happy with the effort the team gave on the field.
“It was a tough one,” Davies said. “We held our own for quite a bit. One mistake gave up a goal. We had one or two chances that we did not take advantage of. Overall, I am very proud of the team. I think we gave it our all.”
The second goal from Nicaragua came in injury time in the second half on a free kick in The Bahamas’ territory. The goal came on a header from Matias Moldskred to give the visitors an insurance goal.
The Bahamas’ captain, centerback Lesly St. Fleur, spoke about the two goals that Nicaragua scored.
“We had two or three chances. We did what we could have done and everybody put in the work. We lost focus in the final two or three minutes of the game. They scored the first goal of the game after we went out of sync as everyone was somewhere else. The same thing happened in the second half,” said St. Fleur.
The loss has The Bahamas sitting in third place in League B Group C competition with three points. Nicaragua secured the three points with the win and now has seven points to lead the group. Trinidad and
Tobago’s 2-0 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines moved them three points ahead of The Bahamas for second place with six points. The outlier is St. Vincent and the Grenadines with one point that came on a draw with Nicaragua.
Nicaragua assistant coach Andres Rozo was happy to secure the three points.
“We got the three points that we wanted,” he said. “It felt like we made it more difficult for ourselves. We had more opportunities to score and it feels like we should have scored more goals and had a better complete game. The three points were important to take with us and we did that,” Rozo said through his translator, Moldskred.
Moldskred, who plays midfield for Nicaragua, was not too happy with his overall performance, despite the late goal.
“We had chances but we did not have enough flow in our game,” Moldskred said. “We were a little bit stressed and anxious when we had the ball. We fell down a bit. The opportunities started coming and I knew we had space. I was not the best on the ball and I finally got a goal in the end.”
In the game, referee Joseph Dickerson handed out five yellow cards. The Bahamas had three of them and Nicaragua received two – both in the first half. The Bahamas will be without winger Marcel Joseph for the second match against Nicaragua in Managua, Nicaragua, tonight. Joseph is facing suspension after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.
“It is a significant loss,” Davies said about Joseph. “He is one of the veteran players. We have some young guys who are ready to step in and do the job, so it is next man up. Someone else will have an opportunity to show what he can do.”
In the game, three starters for The Bahamas had to be substituted off. First, it was right-back Derrick Ferguson. Jemison was substituted off midway through the second half, and as the match came to a close, midfield player Omari Bain went down.
“Derrick was a tough loss because it was late in the first half. He was having a solid game at the time. Losing your starting keeper is significant. Omari, who plays midfield striker with good speed – we lose a little bit there,” said Davies.
Both teams have arrived in Managua, Nicaragua, to complete their home-and-away series tonight. The match will be played at the National Stadium in Managua and gets underway at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).