Ft. Lauderdale, FL (September 8, 2012) - The Puerto Rico Islanders earned another important point on the road tonight when they ended their visit to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a 1 - 1 draw. With this result, the Islanders are still in third place in NASL standings with 37 points, after having clinched a playoff spot with last week's league results. The Islanders travel to Minnesota to play the Stars FC next Tuesday, September 11th. As always, 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.
Missing over a dozen players, Coach Adrian Whitbread was forced into extensive man management as he looked to maximize a depleted squad, but it was a familiar face that gave the Islanders a surprise lead inside five minutes.
Jamaican forward Nicholas Addlery has been in fantastic form for the Club this season and, after Fort Lauderdale lost the ball just inside their half, the forward allowed for a single bounce before swiveling and firing home a long distance effort.
Recently voted NASL player of the month for August, the custodian was the antithesis of his opposite number as he first blocked a shot then smothered the rebound, much to the delight of an onlooking Whitbread. Unfortunately there was nothing Martin could do just moments later when the Strikers did eventually pull level.
Midfielder Mark Anderson fired in a cross that was cleared to the feet of Pecka - the Brazilian expertly crashing his shot off the underside of Martin’s crossbar for his first goal in professional soccer, much to the delight of the home fans.
Midway through the first half the home side thought they had snatched a lead through Andy Herron’s header. However, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside, and was the catalyst to a spate of chances for the home side, with Jonathan Fana firing a shot in response to heavy Strikers' pressure.
As the game became more stretched, both sides enjoyed good chances to take the lead, with David Foley providing an opportunity for Jonathan Fana, the striker unfortunately hitting his effort just wide of the goal.
As the game reached its crescendo, both teams tried in vein to secure all three points. The draw was enough for the Strikers to secure a play off spot. Meanwhile, for the Islanders, they can be pleased they were able to secure a point against a side with an impressive home record for the season.
“They should all be very proud of themselves. They did what we needed on the road to try and get a win. We couldn't quite manage to get it but they fought for each other and there was a togetherness about the team and that is what earned us the point tonight.”
The Coach also acknowledged the end to end nature of the game and admitted he was pleased to leave Florida with a point.
“We spoke about it midweek that we had worked towards counter attacking because we knew Fort Lauderdale were a good team that likes to pass the ball and that we could hurt them on the offense going the other way,” said Whitbread.
“Obviously, Fort Lauderdale had one or two chances themselves. I thought it was a good game to be honest with you but I thought it was a little bit end to end, too much sometimes for myself, but I thought it was a great point for us.”