Puerto Rico Islanders FC
Just after winning the 2010 USSF Div2 Championship this past Saturday in North Carolina, the Puerto Rico Islanders returned to the field last night to play Sevilla FC-PR, in what was each teams’ opening match in the 2010 SuperCopa DirectTV of the Puerto Rico Soccer League (PRSL).
The SuperCopa is this year’s qualifying tournament for the Puerto Rico spots at the 2011 Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) Caribbean Clubs Cup, which in turn is the qualifying tournament for the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
The Islanders won the 2010 CFU Caribbean Clubs Cup back in May, and played in the 2010-11 CCL where they dismantled the L.A. Galaxy in the preliminary stage; routed the Salvadorian Champs (FAS) and came from behind to defeat the Mexican Reigning Champion Toluca at Bayamón in the Groups Stage, only to succumb on their last match in Honduras to Olimpia, who moved on to the CCL Quarterfinals.
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La Tropa Naranja, ¡Campeones 2010!
Sandy Gbandi weaved his way through the Carolina box in the 7th minute and netted a goal for the Puerto Rico Islanders to put the Islanders up 3-0 on aggregate goals, which proved to be too much to overcome for the RailHawks who fell 3-1 in the series after a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the final.
On the 7th minute, Sandy Gbandi escaped the Railhawks’ defense inside of the box and shot a goal past Carolina’s keeper Eric Reed, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead in the game and 3-0 on the Championship Series aggregate.
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Tuesday, October 26th 2010 – Grenada National Stadium, Grenada: St Kitts and Nevis won the battle for pride with a last gasp winner from Jevon Francis in their final game of Group E of the Digicel Cup.
With both sides going into the game knowing that it would be their last in this year’s Digicel Cup, the sides showed great attitude by providing a growing crowd in the National Stadium in Grenada with some attractive attacking football.
In the early moments of the first half it seemed to be all St Kitts with Lewis and Mitchum both going close with early efforts. On 25 minutes it was Kittitian Orlando Mitchum who was again the main danger man when his header flew inches past the post with Perez rooted to the spot in the Puerto Rican goal.
Sandi Gbandi opened the 2010 USSF Div2 Finals scoreboard on the 49th minute, and Jonathan Faña scored an insurance goal on the 89th minute, to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead over the Carolina Railhawks in Bayamón, in the 1st-Leg of the Championship Series.
On the 40th minute the Islanders celebrated what appeared to be their first goal of the game by Sandi Gbandi, but his goal was strangely-annulled, apparently due to a foul inside of the box.
On the 49th minute, Sandy Gbandi again (this time unmarked) took a (really, really…) long throw-in from Marco Velez and volleyed it past RailHawks’ goalkeeper Eric Reed for the 1-0 lead.
Sunday, October 24th 2010 – Grenada National Stadium, Grenada: Guadeloupe ensured qualification to the finals of the Digicel Cup in Martinique by defeating Puerto Rico in Group E and ensure at least a top two finish in the first of the stage 2 process of the Digicel Cup. While the top position is still to play for, along with national pride, the French side have ensured that local interest will be at a prime as the close French rivals of Martinique and Guadeloupe now have potential for a mouth watering clash in the finals of the Digicel Cup.
Guadeloupe got off to an incredible start and opened the scoring in the easiest of fashions after only 47 seconds. Straight from the kick off Auvray moved the ball right to Fautrai who squared the ball across the centre of the goal for Gendrey to sneak in at the back post and pass the ball into the empty net from 3 yards.
Friday, October 22ND 2010 – Grenada National Stadium, Grenada: Grenada opened another DCC campaign hoping to go one better than their 2008 runner up position by beating Group A winners Puerto Rico by a 3-1 scoreline in Grenada.
Both teams started well with Grenada looking very lively up front with Modeste and Charles causing untold damage with their strong physical presence. The vocal supporters of the Spice Boys thought they may have opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Shane Rennie hit a thunderous shot from the right that flew past the post.
Puerto Rico were not to be outdone and on 25 minutes Feigenbaum and Rivera combined well to set up Hector Ramos whose header drifted right of the post.
The Puerto Rico National Team, under the directions of Islanders’ 3rd coach Jack Stefanowski, will resume action in the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup tonight when they face 2nd Round Hosts in Group E at the National Stadium, Grenada.
Colin Clarke delegated the skip role to Stefanowski for the next few games in the Digicel, as “the General” trains with the Islanders for Sunday’s 1st-leg of the USSF Div2 Finals in Bayamón.
Assistant Coach Adrian Whitbread traveled yesterday along with Puerto Rican National Alexis Rivera to Grenada for the match tonight. Both Whitbread and Rivera will return to Puerto Rico tomorrow in time for the Final’s match against the Carolina Railhawks.
The Islanders finish 3rd in the group with a 2-2-2 record and 8 points. Olimpia won the group with 13 points and Toluca (who defeated FAS 4-0 tonight) was the group’s runner up with 10 points. FAS from El Salvador finished last, winless with 2 points.
With the CCL now over, the Islanders can focus on the 2010 USSF Div2 Championship against the Carolina Railhawks the next two weekends.
USSF Div2 Semifinal’s hero Nick Addlery did not play tonight, nor was he on the bench; and Dominican striker Johnathan Faña did not fly to Honduras, as he is recovering from an injury he suffered playing for the Dominican Republic’s National Team in the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup last weekend.
Gaudette, R. Martínez, Villaroel, Emory, Horst, Alexis Rivera (Josh Hansen), Noah Delgado (David Foley), Nurse (Salem), Daniel, Gbandi, Jagdeosingh
The Semifinal’s 2nd-Leg finished 0-0 after 90 minutes (tied 0-0 in aggregate) of regular time and had to go into 2 x 15 minutes-overtime. It was starting to look like the penalty shootout was on the schedule as well, until lighting stroke and the Islanders broke the scoreboard open and secured their spot to the Finals in the last few minutes of extra time.
Nicholas Addlery scored the first goal of the match on minute 113′, in extra time, to put the Islanders ahead 1-0 in the Semi Final series. Then on the dying seconds of stoppage time, Addlery himself put the final nail on Vancouver’s USSF Div2 coffin with his 2nd goal with a shot to an empty net!
The Islanders pressured Vancouver early and threw a big scare into the Whitecaps five minutes into the game when forward Kendall Jagdeosingh hit the post with a shot from the left flank. There was little action around either team’s goal for the rest of the half.
Puerto Rico’s David Foley struck a shot wide from the edge of the Vancouver box on 33 minutes, while Whitecaps winger Philippe Davies smacked a 35-yard free kick wide a minute later.
Vancouver’s Cody Arnoux took a nice through ball in the 39th minute but fired into the side netting.
The Islanders’ best chances of the second half came from a Noah Delgado shot that was saved by Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly on 69 minutes.
Puerto Rico had 10 shots compared with Vancouver’s two during the game.