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It’s Carolina and Puerto Rico in the 2010 USSF D2 Finals

2010 October 18
by Brian Quarstad

Tom Heinemann, on loan from the D3 Champion Charleston Battery, celebrates his series-winning goal sending the RailHawks to their first championship game.

The Carolina RailHawks and Puerto Rico Islanders will be meeting in the USSF D2 Pro League finals starting next weekend. The final series is a home and away total goals series with the first leg played at lower-seed Puerto Rico next Saturday, October 24 at Juan Ramon Loubriel, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The second leg will take place at WakeMed Park on October 30 in Cary, N.C.

Carolina 2-0 Montreal
The RailHawks defeated the Montreal Impact on Sunday evening at WakeMed Park. Carolina (#2 seed) came into the game down a goal after a 1-0 loss to the Impact last Thursday in Montreal.

The RailHawks were still down a goal aggregate going into the second half of play. Brad Rusin brought the series even for Carolina in the 72nd minute.

In the dying moments of the game Matt Watson delivered a through ball to Tom Heinemann. The Carolina forward, who was loaned from the Championship D3 Charleston Battery, delivered for his new team. He blasted the ball past Impact goalkeeper Matt Jordan in the 86th minute for the game and series winner.

Puerto Rico 2-0 Vancouver
The Puerto Rico Islanders were the lowest seed team to enter the playoffs at number 8. But the Islanders have a history of playing up in big games. Puerto Rico and Vancouver entered the contest tied 0-0 aggregate after a 0-0 draw last Thursday in Puerto Rico.

The return leg at Swangard had Vancouver playing dominating soccer but unable to finish. The two teams found themselves tied 0-0 at the end of regulation even though the Whitecaps had fired off 11 shots to Puerto Rico’s 3. The Islanders’ Bill Gaudette was brilliant on several saves to keep his team in the game.

Overtime would be the undoing for Vancouver as Nicholas Addlery scored the game winner in the 113th minute of play. The ball fell to Addlery on the edge of the box and he one-timed the ball past Whitecaps keeper Jay Nolly who had an excellent season for Vancouver. Another late goal was had by Addlery when Nolly come to the center line to help keep possession for his team which was desperate for an equalizer. The forward dribbled by Nolly and shot from 40 yards out. The goal put the game out of reach for the Whitecaps and closed the division 2 chapter of their history.

Vancouver will now focus on their 2011 entry to Major League Soccer and the Islanders will focus on their CONCACAF Champions League game this week and then their home championship match with Carolina next weekend.

Final, Leg 1

Date Match Time (ET) Venue
Oct. 24 Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Carolina RailHawks 6:05 p.m. Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel; Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Final, Leg 2

Date Match Time (ET) Venue
Oct. 30 Carolina RailHawks vs. Puerto Rico Islanders 7 p.m. WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
10 Responses
  1. ERic permalink
    October 18, 2010

    Is Juan Ramon Loubriel really going to be ready to host a game? I thought I read that the stadium was so bad after the Digicel Cup games that they were going to shut it down until next year to give the ‘grass’ a chance to fix itself.

  2. fotbalist permalink
    October 18, 2010

    There goes my wish of an all Canadian final again. But Carolina and PR deserve it. It’s going to be a nail-bitter off season for D2 won’t it?

  3. October 18, 2010

    There were hideous scenes following the Montreal v Carolina match of Impact players and staff attacking the officials. What kind of punishment will be handed out by the league? Will there be any reaction?

  4. October 18, 2010

    Another question should be how can the league or USSF improve its poor officiating.

  5. Soccer Boy permalink
    October 18, 2010

    I am cheering for the Railhawks–but only is Nic Platter is playing GK.

  6. fotbalist permalink
    October 18, 2010

    I agree w/ BQ. Often the officiating is terribly sub-par at D2 and even MLS games. I’m not saying this as a knock on the current officials, but I just feel that the level of soccer has developed very rapidly on this continent and officials simply couldn’t keep up. There are 2 things USSF can do to improve that in a short period of time. The first is to bring in a few top refs from Europe and South America for a a couple of seasons to mentor our officials. The second to cut some agreement with a couple of leagues in Europe and a couple in South America where USSF could send a few top refs for extended periods of the season 3 or 4 months. In a period of 2 years you’d have a pool of great and experienced officials right here at home. Just some thoughts.

  7. MarcV permalink
    October 19, 2010

    Yeah, the officiating was rotten, but even as an Impact fan, I have to recognize that sometimes my team was on the right side of a poor ref decision. And what do you know, the Impact were due for a loss… Raihawks-Islanders is a worthy final still – should be good to watch.

  8. teucer permalink
    October 21, 2010

    I’m not sure I disagree with the refs here. There were some unclear calls in that series, two of which went our way and one favored the Impact; I’m not certain any was wrong. (Reviewing the tapes, I think the disallowed Carolina goal in Montreal and the disallowed Montreal goal in Cary were both correct but very close. Heinemann’s goal that did get scored was after a long pass and the tape sheds no light on the matter; when the ball gets to him, he’s unambiguously offsides, but both he and the relevant defender are out of the frame when it’s kicked and that’s the part that matters. Should the goal have been disallowed? Good question, and not one the tape answers; all I know for sure is that the linesman didn’t think so at the time.)

    Coming right on the heels of the debated Carolina goal, though, the very close and not-obviously-correct offsides call against Montreal clearly had some of the Impact players pretty seriously pissed off. I don’t blame them for that one bit – the way that game played out, ref calls directly and unambiguously cost Montreal a spot in the finals, and while I’m inclined to believe the call was right, that’s still not exactly the most satisfying way to lose a game.

    What I do blame them for is the violence. That crap is unacceptable, and I’m waiting to hear what USSF has to say about the matter but I hope it will come down on those guys like a ton of bricks.

    So, BQ, your flip response there seems to this Carolina fan like it’s missing something. Yes, D2 is in desperate need of of better officiating, but that’s not news. We’ve all had it go against us, and we’ve all been wishing for better since the start of the season. On the other hand, if what they do about Saturday’s incident is nothing more than hire other referees, I would be furious. Martin Rennie caught a three-game suspension this season for a purely verbal confrontation with the officials (and for badmouthing them to the press afterwards, if I recall correctly). Etienne Barbara got two games off for hitting an Impact player who had spat on him; you can’t say the suspension was undeserved, but he was reacting inappropriately to grossly unsportsmanlike conduct. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the players involved in Saturday’s fight, but as far as I’m concerned there would be no excuse for not throwing the biggest book USSF has at them.

    There’s a story here that goes beyond the results of the match. I hope that, when the fallout begins, you’re going to tell it.

  9. October 21, 2010

    I am trying to follow up on this.

  10. teucer permalink
    October 24, 2010

    Thanks. I was at the game, but my knowledge of exactly what happened in that tunnel is less than complete. What I’ve heard secondhand is pretty incredible, though, and I doubt that the story is over.

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