On a rainy Saturday night at Belson Stadium, NASL side Puerto Rico FC edged out the Puerto Rico U-20 national team by a 1-0 scoreline in the first ever “Clásico de Fútbol”.
A 13th minute strike by Jackie Marrero was all that was required for the new NASL side. After a backpass by a national team player to PRFC, Marrero was fed the ball and made a run on net, chipping the national team keeper who had left his line for the only goal of the match.
The U-20s, fighting well above their weight class, played a physical battle throughout the remainder of the match, threatening the PRFC net with a few close chances. They would not find an equalizer.
The friendly was the highlight of PRFC’s involvement in the events surrounding the Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend and they definitely took advantage of it.
“I think it’s to get in touch with the Puerto Rican culture here. It’s important to us as a team and as a football club,” stated head coach Adrian Whitbread. “Also, it’s another step in the right direction for our preseason and fitness.”
There’s also decisions yet to be made as the coach indicated.
“I still have seven of my eleven yet to go for July 2nd, and that’s up to the players to put themselves at the forefront of my mind.”
You can see more photos of the match in our SmugMug album.
- Carmelo Anthony was present at the match, introduced before kickoff and taking team photos.
- The U-20s were in good spirits at the end of the match, leading the crowd in singing the Puerto Rican National Anthem before hitting the locker room, truly a beautiful moment in a match that celebrated Puerto Rican culture and a sport growing in popularity with a people of rich heritage.