(This article was published on the Monday, June 13th printed edition of the "Puerto Rico Daily Sun.")
More than 2,000 enthusiasts saw the home team beat one of its archrivals in North American second division soccer.
The “Tropa Naranja” (Orange Troop) players did not wear their traditional orange jerseys in this game. For the first time, they came to the field displaying an unusual branded yellow uniform as part of the promotional activities sponsored by a local beer and a debit card network that support the team.
The first half had several early goal attempts by both teams. Montreal had the first corner kick in the 5th minute, but the attempt was cleared away by Islanders defense Jamie Cunningham. The home team had a corner kick in the 9th minute, but David Foley’s kick went out of bounds. Islanders’ captain Nick Addlery received a yellow card during the 21st minute, but the Impact team was unable to complete the next free throw.
The first goal came in the 24th minute after a corner kick allowed Islanders’ midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan to score and give his team a 1-0 lead. The Impact responded, and in the 35th minute, Amir Lowery scored and tied the game 1-1. The Islanders intensified their attack and three minutes after Montreal tied the match, Addlery scored a sensational goal that put all “hinchas” (soccer fans) up and dramatically raised the noise level at the Loubriel Stadium.
None of the teams scored in the second half. In the 76th minute, Islanders midfielder Josh Hansen made an attack that almost became the third goal for the home team as the ball rolled centimeters away from the net.
Three players were penalized with yellow card in the second half. For the Islanders, forward Jonathan Faña and goalkeeper Ray Burse were penalized. Impact forward Reda Agourram was also sanctioned by the main referee. Impact defense Zurab Tsiskaridze also received a yellow card in the first half.
Islanders co-captain and midfielder Noah Delgado did not participate in the game due to an Achilles’ tendon injury.
This was the first win for the Puerto Rican team in its last six NASL matches. The Islanders last victory occurred on April 26th.
After winning their first three games of the 2011 NASL (North American Soccer League) season, the Islanders came to the Sunday match without accomplishing a victory after accumulating two ties and three loses in their previous five contests.
The game against the Canadian eleventh also represented former Islanders’ goalkeeper Bill Gaudette comeback to Bayamón. Gaudette was signed by the Impact during the off-season. He played for the Puerto Rican professional franchise from 2008 to 2010.
His return to the “Islandera” was not pleasant. He did not play in the second half and was unable to finish the first one as he left the field in the 44th minute of the match. In the 28th minute, Gaudette collided with Islanders’ forward Nick Addlery. The goalkeeper from Montreal kept playing, but the pain compelled him to leave the match in the final minutes of the first half. He was substituted by Evan Bush.
While they were still members of the USL (United Soccer Leagues) circuit of North America, both teams have faced each other in recent playoffs series. In 2007, the sixth ranked Islanders beat the third ranked Impact in the first round of the playoffs series. In 2009, the Montreal franchise avenged the upset from two years earlier and eliminated Puerto Rico in the USL semifinals.
With the win, the Islanders improved their record to 4-2-3 and occupy the fifth position in the NASL standings. Montreal now plays for 2-2-6 and ranks seventh in the circuit.