Thursday, May 7, 2009
TAMPA, FL – The USL First Division expansion Austin Aztex will make their first-ever appearance on Fox Soccer Channel Friday at 8:00 pm ET when they play host to the 2008 regular season champion and league finalist Puerto Rico Islanders.
Both clubs come into the contest as two of three clubs still unbeaten on the season with the visiting Islanders sitting at 2-0-1 and the Aztex at 1-0-2 (Charleston is 1-0-3). The one common opponent so far this season between the two sides are the Vancouver Whitecaps. Austin earned a 1-1 draw at home against the defending champions April 21 after the Islanders had avenged their championship defeat in their season opener in Bayamon three days earlier, 2-1.
While it is the first official competitive meeting of the year between the two clubs, the pair are somewhat familiar with one another with Puerto Rico having made a training friendly stop in Austin en route to their CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal match in Mexico. Just days before their second leg meeting with Cruz Azul, the Islanders played to a scoreless draw as they prepped for the decisive game of the series. As witnessed last week on Fox Soccer Channel with Rochester’s 3-0 win over Cleveland, whom they played to a goalless tie in the prior to the season, preseason contests may not be a reliable indicator for future showdowns.
Austin, playing their fourth home match to open the season, is coming off of a 3-0 victory over the promoted Cleveland City Stars. Englishman Eddie Johnson leads the team in scoring with two of the club’s five goals and an assist. Sullivan Silva has a goal and two assists. The Islanders enter Friday’s match, their first on the road, having defeated their Champions League counterpart Montreal 3-2. Nicholas Addlery leads the team with two of their five goals while Cristian Arrieta has two assists.
After the match Puerto Rico immediately heads to Vancouver for another showdown against the defending champions Sunday before taking a week off from league action to participate in the Caribbean Football Union Championship. Seeded into the Semifinals being held in Trinidad, the Islanders will face Haitian club Tempete Friday, May 15 while Trinidadian sides San Juan Jabloteh and W Connection meet in the other half of the bracket. With three berths to the CONCACAF Champions League on the line, the Islanders need to win one of the two matches on the weekend to return to the confederation’s club championship event.
Next USL on FSC Match: The Rochester Rhinos make the cross-country trek to Portland to face the Timbers at PGE Park in a special Thursday night edition of the game of the week, May 14 at 11:00 pm ET.