Puerto Rico FC Wins NY Debut Against PR U-20 National Team

PRFC NASL

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Queens, N.Y. – A 13th minute goal by Joseph “Jackie” Marrero was the difference in a competitive but impressive performance by the newest NASL franchise Puerto Rico Football Club against the U20 Puerto Rican Men’s National Team.

The game billed as the Puerto Rican Classico de Futbol was the first chance any audience had to see the new NASL side on the pitch and they didn’t disappoint. The team sports some impressive talent, including NASL veterans Oliver Minatel and former Atlanta Silverback striker Pedro Ferreira-Mendes.

Coached by former Puerto Rican Islander head coach Adrian Whitebread, the team appeared organized and poised in an important cultural setting.

“Well I think it’s to get in touch with the Puerto Rican cultura here,” said head coach Adrian Whitbread after the game when discussing playing the day before the famous Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. “That’s very important to us as a team. It’s also another step in the right direction for our preseason games and fitness.”

Puerto Rico FC jumped out to a fast start, pressuring the U20 Puerto Rican national team and earning several corners in the first ten minutes. The goal soon followed in the 13th minute when Joseph “Jackie” Morrero buried an opportunity following a midfield takeaway. From there, PRFC conceded possession for a short window but maintained a strong shape against the U20 side.

The second half saw more domination by PRFC as they held the ball up well and peppered the national team’s goalkeeper with set piece opportunities. The team came close to doubling the lead in the 52nd minute but the play was called offside after a headed effort found the back of the net.

“A system is a system,” said Whitbread when discussing the team’s physical style of play. “We’ll do our homework coming in to play against Indy and I’m sure they’re doing the same against us.”

After the game, the small but loud crowd at Belson Stadium at St. Johns University sang the Puerto Rican national anthem with the the U20 national team and took photos with both sides in what amounted to a fun and strong appearance for the new division 2 side. Team owner Carmelo Anthony also appeared before the game and met with fans as the game progressed in the stands to drum up excitement about the team’s first league game.

Puerto Rico FC’s first game will be on July 2nd against the soon-to-be crowned NASL Spring Season champion Indy Eleven at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

GOALS:

’13: PRFC: Joseph Marrero

DISCIPLINE:

’50: YELLOW CARD PRFC: Ramon Soria Alonso