USL News Release
Thursday, September 11, 2008
TAMPA, FL – Two of the league’s top four teams with two weeks left in the season meet Friday night on Fox Soccer Channel at 8:00 pm ET when the fourth-place Rochester Rhinos play host to the league-leading Puerto Rico Islanders. The chase for the regular season title and bye to the Semifinals will be the goal of the night for both sides.
At 14-6-7, the Islanders currently hold a two point lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps and are nine ahead of the Rhinos, whose hopes of finishing first are slim. Only a three-way tie for first could give Rochester the regular season title, but that would mean Puerto Rico would have to fail to earn any points in their final three games and Vancouver would have to play to draws in both of theirs.
On the other hand, Puerto Rico could claim the Commissioner’s Cup in the span of 27 hours with a victory over Rochester Friday and a loss by Vancouver at home against Montreal Saturday evening.
The Commissioner’s Cup means far more for Puerto Rico than the regular season title as securing the first round bye to the league Semifinals will be a relief on their schedule, which also now includes the CONCACAF Champions League’s group phase. Their first match comes next Tuesday at home against Tauro FC, the Panamanian side that eliminated Chivas USA in the Preliminary Round.
The next two fixtures are during the playoffs on September 23 and October 1. They host Mexican side Santos Laguna on the 23rd and will travel to Guatemala to face CSD Municipal in two tough back-to-back matches.
The Rhinos will be looking to even the season series having lost 4-0 in Puerto Rico August 8 followed by a 1-1 draw at home two nights later. Edwin Miranda scored twice for the Islanders in the win along with Fabrice Noel and Cristian Arrieta. After taking the initial lead in the 45th minute courtesy of Alfonso Loera, the Rhinos were unable to preserve the advantage for the win with Taiwo Atieno finding the second half equalizer in the second meeting.
Next USL on FSC Match: The final Friday Night Football edition of the USL game of the week on Fox Soccer Channel is on tap for next week as the Carolina RailHawks visit the Charleston Battery on the final weekend of the regular season. The game is at 8:00 pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel. The games of the week then shift to Sunday for the First Round and Semifinals before wrapping up with the championship Saturday, October 11.