Defender to face former team in Champions League Preliminary Round
Marco Velez made 86 appearances for the Puerto Rico Islanders before joining the Reds. (Getty Images)
Toronto FC defender Marco Velez is looking forward to making a return to his homeland of Puerto Rico to face the Islanders in the Preliminary Round of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Reds secured their place as Canada’s representative in the tournament with a stunning 6-1 demolition of Montreal Impact last week, and the win set up the chance for Velez to face his former team. The first match between the teams will be played at BMO Field during the week of July 28, with the return match in San Juan during the week of August 4 (dates to be confirmed).
Velez made 86 appearances for the Puerto Rico Islanders before joining TFC in 2008. «I played three years with them and it is my home country so it will be good to go back,» said Velez. «I was pretty excited to get that win against Montreal. It’s going to be good because I can go up against my old team and my old coach so it will be a good experience. I get to visit for a few days and there will be plenty of support from my family there to watch the game.»
The Islanders play in the United Soccer League First Division and made it to the semi finals of the CONCACAF Champions League earlier this year. «I follow all of their games and they have a good team with good athletes,» said Velez. «We also have a good team and we proved it on Thursday, so I expect a hard fought match because they want to do well again this year after making it to the semi finals last year.»
Before Velez gets the chance to taste some home cooking, there are plenty of important league games to concentrate on, starting with a home match against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday (kick off 8 p.m. live on GOLTV). «We will be up near the top if we get a win on Wednesday so it’s a very important game. We enjoyed wining the trophy, but now we’ve got to come back and get our heads right and get a win in the league,» he said.