The defending United States Soccer Federation Division II Champions fell in the final leg of the North American Soccer League 5-2 on aggregate goals. The Islanders fell 3-1 in the first leg against in Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in the heart of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The Islanders lost the second leg 2-1 securing the Strikers ticket to the finals.
The Islanders fell last weekend at home against the Strikers 3-1 at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium. The “Orange Troop” played shorthanded due to 12 players fulfilling their national team duties for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.
The Puerto Rico Islanders had the first dangerous opportunity in the 11th minute with a give and go play between Joe Salem and Jonathan Faña. Faña fired a violent shot saved by Fort Lauderdale Strikers goalkeeper, Matt Glaeser.
The first goal of the match came in the 19th minute, when Brian Shriver took advantage of a pass into space, and finished with a potent left-footed shot.
In the 35th minute, Salem and Faña linked up once again, but Faña's shot went well over the goal.
With an acrobatic save minutes before the end of the first, Ray Burse denied a violent shot from Shriver ending the first half with the Strikers up 1-0.
In the 56th minute David Foley scored the equalizer taking advantage of a corner kick, and blasting the ball into the back of the net.
Only two minutes later, Shriver took advantage of a counter attack giving the Strikers a 2-1 advantage.
In the final moments of the match, the Islanders continued to push their lines forward creating several dangerous attacking opportunities. In the 74th Foley squared up in front of goal and sent a well placed shot, barely wide of the frame. Ten minutes later, Hector “Pito” Ramos took advantage of an Islanders counter attack, trying to slide a through ball to Fana, but the pass was too long and was snuffed out by Glaeser.