The Puerto Rico Islanders punched their ticket to the 2012-103 CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Antigua Barracudas FC this past Thursday at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Trinidad & Tobago. The Islanders will be in Group 5 with LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Islanders are one of three teams to qualify for every season of the Champions League since its inception in 2008.
“What the players showed tonight was unbelievable heart and desire and we got the result. Some people wanted LA Galaxy to return to the "Islandera" and they got their wish. The Puerto Rican supporters are fantastic!! Last time we played the Galaxy they filled the stadium. The field is going to be new and the stadium will have some renovations. It is a new experience, an exciting experience for everybody, and when they see how hostile the supporters are, it is going to be an amazing sight,” said Head Coach Adrian Whitbread.
The Islanders were on the offensive early. Joshua Hansen, in his first start of the season, took advantage of a volley at the edge of the box and fired a shot over the frame.
In the 14th minute, Gregory Richardson and Jonathan Faña broke down the Barracudas' defense with an excellent combination play. Faña, then, sent a cross to the second post, which Hansen headed towards the back of the net.
Later in the first half, the Barracudas had a chance to tie the match, after a controversial foul was called on Richard Martin inside the box. Quinton Griffith had his penalty kick denied after an acrobatic save by Martin.
The Islanders started the second half dominating possession of the ball and creating numerous offensive opportunities.
Gregory Richardson took advantage of an excellent pass from Hansen and got behind the Antigua backline, but was quickly taken down inside the box. Faña converted the PK and assured the Islanders a ticket to their 5th consecutive CONCACAF Champions League berth.
The Puerto Rico Islanders continue their NASL action this Saturday June 23rd when they visit the Atlanta Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Fans can watch the game at the Islanders Watch Party in Coladas Fine Puerto Rican Cuisine and Frozen Drink Bar at Verdanza Hotel in Isla Verde since 7:00. pm. We hope to see you all there!