The Islanders starting lineup included: Bill Gaudette, Jonathan Steele, Scott Jones, Nigel Henry, Martin Nuñez, Petter Villegas, Cristian Arrieta, Noah Delgado, Sandy Gbandi, John Krause and Nick Addlery.
It took less than 15 minutes for the Islanders to get the 2 winning goals. Within the first minute of the game, former Carolina Railhawks’ Martin Nuñez (from Uruguay) found a loose ball in front of the Crew’s goal and scored the first goal of the preseason for the Islanders. On the 13th minute the Islanders doubled their lead for good when Puertorican National Noah Delgado scored off an assist from the 2008 USL First Division Most Valuable Player Jonathan Steele.
On the 20th minute the Crew had their first of two casualties when their starting goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum left the match due to an ankle injury. On the 30th minute Columbus forward Steven Lenhart picked up a red card. Since the match was an exhibition, the Crew was not forced to go a man down, so Lenhart was replaced. The Crew picked up three more yellow cards in the 2nd half.
The only substitution for the Islanders in the 2nd half was Josh Hansen for Villegas.
The USL Regular Season Champions’ defense held the Crew scoreless and mantained the 2-0 lead for the rest of the game resulting in the defeat of the defending MLS Champions. It was the first win for the Islanders in the preseason, and they now have a 1-1-1 record in the MLS friendlies, with one more MLS team to go, the DC United at Juan Ramón Loubriel stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
In an oficial team press release, ‘General’ Colin Clarke said: «As we finish this phase of pre-season, the trip could not have finished on a more positive note as we beat Columbus Crew, the current MLS champions by a score 2-0 this morning at the IMG center in Bradenton. The team played very very well today and created numerous chances and could have scored some more goals. Defensively we were very sound and Columbus struggled to create any clear cut openings. With a little bit of luck and better finishing the score could have been much more flattering. The players have worked very hard and are looking forward to returning back to PR to face the exciting challenges ahead with DC United on February 21st and CD Marathon at home on February 26th».
The Islanders will play their next preseason game tomorrow against the Bulls from the University of South Florida at 11am EST.