The Puerto Rico Islanders faced the Carolina Railhawks tonight for their NASL season opener in Cary, North Carolina in what many referred to as the ‘2010 Championship Re-match’. The Islanders started their season off with an important 2-1 win with goals by Joshua Hansen '33 and Jay Needham '93.
The game was underway around 7:08pm and after little less than 10 minutes of play and no score, it was stopped by the referee due to lightning. It wasn’t until 9:10pm that the game could be resumed and the Islanders were ready to go for the win.
The Islanders started attacking right away. Former Islanders John Krause and Jonathan Steele's foul and hand ball ,respectively, resulted in a couple of free kick opportunities for the Orange Troops near the 15th minute of play.
On the 33th minute Jay Needham took a thrown in from the right side into the box, and after a couple touches, Josh Hansen took a shot to the left post and scored the first goal of the season for the Puerto Rico Islanders. Islanders led the game 1-0 at halftime.
Early in the second half, Islanders' goalkeeper Ray Burse had a couple of great saves to keep the lead. On the 57th minute, former Islanders Steele gave a hard tackle to defender Scott Jones that led to an altercation between a few players from both teams and a red card for Jonathan Steele.
With one man down, the Railhawks had numeros attacks on goals but the Islanders managed to keep the lead until the 87th minute when a foul was called in the box and Railhawks' Barbara tied the game 1-1 via penalty kick.
Rain continued to pour heavily at WakeMed Soccer Park and both teams were giving it all for the win. During the fourth minute of stoppage time, Jay Needham scored off a corner kick and gave the Islanders their first win of the 2011 NASL Season.
PUERTO RICO 2, CAROLINA 1
PR: GK Brad Nurse, D Richard Martinez, D Jay Needham, D Logan Emory, D Scott Jones, A Aaron Pitchkolan, M Osei Telesford (Joe Salem, 89th), M Tyler Wilson (Leonard Ly, 75th), M Josh Hansen, F Nick Addlery, Jonathan Fana
CAR: GK Brad Knighton, D Kupono Low, D Devon McKenney, D Cory Miller (Cory Elenio, 68th), D John Krause, M Floyd Franks, M Matt Watson, M Jonny Steele, F Pablo Campos (Etienne Barbara, 79th), F Brian Farber, F Nick Zimmerman (Stephen Glass, 81st)
PR: Josh Hansen, 32nd
CAR: Etienne Barbara, 86th
PR: Jay Needham (90th+)
PR: Scott Jones, 52nd; Nick Addlery, 61st; Logan Emory, 74th
CAR: John Krause, 15th
CAR: Jonny Steele, 58th
- This was the Railhawk's first season opener loss in 5 years.
- Midfielder Tyler Wilson, a member of Puerto Rico's National Team, made his professional soccer debut as a starter for the PR Islanders.
The Islanders will play their next game on Sunday, April 17th at Tampa, Florida against FC Tampa Bay. Watch the game live at 6:00pm HERE.