Thursday, May 14, 2009
BAYAMON, PR – Having returned from a long trip to Texas and Vancouver, the Puerto Rico Islanders now turn their attention toward booking a return to the CONCACAF Champions League with this weekend’s final four competition for the Caribbean Football Union’s club championship being held in Macoya, Trinidad. The top three teams advance to the confederation’s tournament set to begin this fall.
The Islanders avoided being drawn against one of the two Trinidadian clubs that have advanced to the CFU Semifinals, meeting up with Tempete of Haiti Friday. The opposing club is only in its second appearance in the tournament, having captured their league title for the first time since 1992. The 1992 champions, however, were unable to participate due to political sanctions against the nation, making their 1989 appearance, a 0-0 draw and 6-5 penalty kick defeat to a Martinique club its lone experience prior to this year.
The novices, however, have acquitted themselves quite well so far. After drawing their first match 1-1 on the road against Guyana’s Alpha United courtesy of an own goal, the club has yet to allow a goal through three more contests. They blanked Alpha United at home 2-0 in the second leg to advance to the Second Round, where they blasted Antigua’s Green Bay Hoppers 8-0 on aggregate with a pair of 4-0 victories.
Leading Tempete in scoring through their four CFU tournament matches are Kervens Fils Belfort (hat-trick in last game), Eliphène Cadet (three goals total) and Thompson Amius (two goals).
Puerto Rico comes into the weekend on the heels of their first USL-1 defeat of the year, a narrow 1-0 decision to the defending champions. The 2-1-2 Islanders sit fifth in the league and are led in scoring by Nicholas Addlery, who has two league goals and posted three in the Champions League Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Defender Cristian Arrieta has a goal and two assists.
The other CFU Semifinal features the Trinidad & Tobago sides W Connection and San Juan Jabloteh, who the Islanders defeated 1-0 on aggregate in the Third Place playoff of the 2007 CFU Championship to earn their spot in the 2008-09 Champions League.
Inaugural Champions League Winners
Atlante captured the first-ever CONCACAF Champions League title Tuesday with a 0-0 draw, downing Cruz Azul 2-0 on aggregate. The Mexican club’s championship run included a 0-0 draw in Montreal and a 2-1 home victory over the Impact in Group Play. They then downed the Houston Dynamo 4-1 on aggregate in the Quarterfinals and fellow Mexican side Santos Laguna in the Semifinals, 4-3 on aggregate. CONCACAF.com story [+]
2008-09 Champions League Recap
It took only a final 0-0 draw to complete Atlante’s title, delighting its fans and capping a nine-month odyssey that was the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League. Despite a hurricane-blown start, more than half of a million fans came out to see the confederation’s new club championship, and even surpassed official expectations. See the full story on CONCACAF.com [+]