The Puerto Rico Islanders punched their ticket to the 2012-103 CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-0 victory of Antigua Barracuda FC this past Thursday at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago. Puerto Rico will be in Group 5 with LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapan in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. Puerto Rico is 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, the stadium will have some renovations, it’s a new experience and exciting experience for everybody, and when they see how hostile the supporters are its going to be an amazing sight,” said Head Coach Adrian Whitbread.
The Islanders were on the offensive early, Josh 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 Fana broke down the Barricuadas 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 thanks to an acrobatic save by Martin.
Puerto Rico 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, and was quickly taken down inside the box. Faña converted the PK and assured the Islanders a ticket to their 5th consecutive CONCACAF berth.