CCL 101: Meet Puerto Rico Islanders

28 August 2:34 pm

CCL 101: Meet Puerto Rico Islanders

By Adam Serrano

CARSON, Calif. -- After producing a primer on Isidro Metapán, last week, here is my primer to the Puerto Rico Islanders ahead of Wednesday's match. 

History:  Founded in 2003, the Islanders have an illustrious history in the CONCACAF Champions League, even earning the name Los Sepultureros (The Gravediggers) for their ability to knock out top tier clubs. Under former head coach Colin Clarke, the Islanders made a run to the semi-finals of the CCL in 2009 defeating the likes of Alajuelense, Santos Laguna and Cruz Azul before falling. In 2010, Puerto Rico would pick up yet another victory, as they defeated the Galaxy in the preliminary round of the CCL 5-3, including a 4-1 win at The Home Depot Center. With their inclusion in this year’s tournament, the Islanders are one of only a few clubs to have participated in the CCL -- at least the preliminary round level -- in each year of its present incarnation.

Key Players: Led by head coach Adrian Whitbread, the Islanders are headlined by a backbone of players that famously led Puerto Rico over the Galaxy in 2010 including Jamaican forward Nicolas Addlery, who scored two goals against the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Also returning to The HDC are influential midfielder Noah Delgado -- a former LA Galaxy SuperDraft pick in 2004 -- and talented English forward David Foley. But the Islanders will also bring another weapon in Dominican forward Jonathan Faña, who is among the NASL leaders in assists.  

Standings: La Tropa Naranja (The Orange troop) is currently in a tie for second place in the NASL with the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 36 points. However, the Islanders hold the advantage over Tampa on goal difference. Puerto Rico and Tampa Bay sit six points behind first place San Antonio Scorpions.

News: Goals have come at a premium for the Islanders as of late in league play as the team has failed to score a goal in three matches. Since a 2-1 victory over the Scorpions in San Antonio, Puerto Rico has gone a disappointing 0-1-2 heading into their match against the Galaxy.

Stadium: The Islanders play at the 22,000 seat Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Recently renovated into a soccer-specific facility, the stadium was originally designed for baseball. Puerto Rico are currently 7-3-1 at JRL in NASL play this season.

What the Galaxy coaches say about Puerto Rico: “They're very similar to the team that we saw a couple years ago. An experienced team, pretty good organization and some pretty dangerous players in the attack. A team that if we don't play well, we're not going to win.” – Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.

What the Galaxy players say about Puerto Rico: "They have the best mindset because if you look at what they've done in the past in this competition . They've been very successful so they put a lot of emphasis on these games because it means a lot in terms of measuring themselves against clubs in other countries and against MLS teams." - current LA Galaxy goalkeeper and former Puerto Rico Islander Josh Saunders. 

For even more consult the video update below from Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones...