The Islanders return to the states just in time for a July 4th showdown against the Minnesota Stars at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night. It will be the final game of a brief northern road trip for the Islanders, who will return home to Bayamón Soccer Complex on Saturday, July 7th. 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, starting at 8:00 p.m.
Head Coach Adrian Whitbread spoke to PRIslandersFC.com Monday:
“We have a travel day today after yesterday's game. We have no injuries to report for our upcoming match and David Foley will be added to the squad after recovering from his illness. Minnesota Stars will be looking to avenge last Saturday’s away defeat to the Tampa Bay Rowdies and we will be looking to be positive and bring home all 3 points”.
This will be the first meeting of the year between the previous two division 2 champs. The Islanders will host the Stars on July 28th, and a back-to-back home and away series is set for September 11th and 15th.
The Puerto Rico defensive unit registered another shutout last time out, notching their 7th clean sheet of the season. Goalkeeper Richard Martin’s GAA has shrank to 0.75. Richard Martinez effectively shut down the entire defensive right side against Edmonton, and Osei Telesford’s tireless work from midfield played a large part in the result of the latest match.
Italian F Simone Bracalello heads Minnesota Stars FC at the attack. He leads the team in goals (3), shots (36), and SOG (16). Scouting from NASL touts his crisp passing and smooth finishing. In addition to Bracalello, sharing the team lead in goals, and standing 6-2 with areal talent, Minnesota F Amani Walker could present a physical challenge for the Islanders.
Islanders midfielder Jarad van Schaik has played every minute of the teams 13 games this season (1170). Keeper Richard Martin, and defenders Richard Martínez and Jay Needham have played a full 12 games (1080). Heading into the middle portion of the season, the teams' durability and endurance will be key.