Wednesday, March 31, 2010
TAMPA, FL – The First Round of the Caribbean Football Union’s Club Championship tournament concluded Tuesday with the final match of Group D play, determining the final participants for the Second Round of the tournament. The Puerto Rico Islanders, seeded into round two, will play host to Haiti’s Racing des Gonaives and Guyana’s Alpha United as the tournament continues with group play April 13, 15 and 17.
Alpha United won its First Round group with a record of 1-0-1 based on tiebreakers. The club tied the group runner-up WBC, but had a better goal differential based on its victory over fellow Guyana side Defence Force. Racing joined the Islanders’ group as the runners-up of their First Round group. A 1-1-1 record was enough to see the Haitian side through.
Racing finished second in the group to River Plate Ponce of the Puerto Rico Soccer League, a potential future USL club. As winners of the group, River Plate will be unable to play on home soil in round two as they will be traveling to Trinidad to play seeded side and host San Juan Jabloteh as well as First Round wild card Leo Victor of Suriname.
A second Puerto Rican club also advanced to give the island three clubs with a shot of reaching the Final Group phase. Bayamon FC, another potential USL club, won its First Round group as well, earning a spot in the other Puerto Rico-hosted group for the Second Round, facing Tempete of Haiti, a seeded club, and a round one group runner-up Avenues United of St Vincent & the Grenadines.
The other group winner of the First Round was Joe Public of Trinidad & Tobago. They will arguably be the favorite of the other Trinidad-hosted round two group featuring two First Round runners-up.
The four Second Round group winners advance to the Final Round, a four-team group phase which will crown the Caribbean champion as well as determine the CFU’s three entrants into the CONCACAF Champions League for the 2010-2011 tournament.
Puerto Rico, Jabloteh and Joe Public have all participated in the Champions League previously. Through two editions of the CONCACAF tournament, the Islanders are the only club outside of Mexico to reach the Semifinals, which are currently underway for the second edition.