October 6, 2008

Puerto Rico won't host the final = WTF??? EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!!

Those damn Islanders. Trailing 2-0 after the first leg of the USL First Division semifinals, you knew they'd manage to turn it around on Sunday, which they did, beating Rochester 3-0 in extra time to advance to the finals. Another great victory for a team that has seen a lot of them recently.

But all is not right on the island. The message boards (here, here and here) are alive and hopping late into the night as it turns out that Vancouver, the other semifinal winner, NOT Puerto Rico, the regular season champion, will host next weekend's final.

Reports in the Vancouver media are chalking it up to the Islanders' facility as "not meeting the criteria for hosting a final." Whatever that's supposed to mean.

Although we're still awaiting an official release from the USL, the condition of the pitch at Swangard Stadium begs the question: What is the "official criteria" for hosting the final?

I understand, Swangard was upgraded for last year's U-23 World Cup, but it's still not the greatest facility in the world. It holds much less than Puerto Rico's facility as well.

Was it security concerns that moved the final off the island? Another massive pitch invasion occured tonight in Puerto Rico, as happened two years ago when the Islanders clinched their first-ever playoff spot. Undoubtedly it would happen again if Puerto Rico hosted the final and walked away with the title.

But the Loubriel has also hosted World Cup Qualifiers, Caribbean Club Championship and CONCACAF Champions League games. Not to mention having a rail station outside the stadium making for easy access.

Whatever the case is, it looks like if things stay the way they are planned (with kickoff being moved from Saturday night to Sunday night, another mind-boggling move, meaning another week of NO DREAM TEAM), the USL could be in for a huge blunder and end up with massive egg on their face.

We'll see what happens on Monday.

Edit: That was quick. On the USL's front page, they've confirmed that Vancouver will host the final Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. Looks like they've got some explaining to do.


Anonymous said...

Where can I email you the reply that an Islander fan received from the USL when asking exactly the same question about not choosing PR to host the final...???

Anonymous said...

Letter sent from an Islander fan to the USL Management... The reply from the USL Management follows...

Subject: Puerto Rico Islanders, the 2008 USL Commissioner' s Cup winners, don't meet the league's minimum requirements for hosting a final???

Dear USL Executives,

It was very heart breaking and disappointing to hear that the 2008 USL Commissioner' s Cup winners, and CONCACAF League of Champions sensation, Puerto Rico Islanders were denied the opportunity to host the USL-1 Final this year, after coming back from a 0-2 aggregate deficit, and defeating Rochester 3-2 last night in the Semi-Finals.

In the news media in Montreal it was said that if Puerto Rico was their opponent in the USL finals, that they would have let the Islanders host the final, because Puerto Rico earned it this year!

Unfortunately Montreal did not win their semi-final, and Vancouver did. On the other hand in the Vancouver media read:

“Second seed Vancouver advances to host the top-seeded Puerto Rico Islanders in the United Soccer Leagues First Division championship final next Sunday, as word came down right after the game that the Islanders didn't meet the league's minimum requirements for hosting a final.”

Please help the Puerto Rico fans understand how is it that the Puerto Rico's Juan Ramón Loubriel stadium suddenly did not meet the “league’s” minimum requirements for hosting a final?

Even Vancouver fans are surprised at the USL “league’s” decision to host the final at their stadium.

Some quotes from from a Vancouver forum:

( http://www.canadian -soccer.com/ forum/topic. asp?TOPIC_ ID=17739 )

>> Worse than that pitch at Swangard? Hard to believe. What is this? Year of the living dead pitches? Big chunks of the pitch at Swan looked like a mud pit.

>> However the Puerto Rico pitch looked better than Vancouver's did today

>> It's not just the pitch, it's the fact PR can't get a TV mobile truck there in time, and poor media facilities etc.

>> If the CanWest quote below is correct, it doesn't sound like pitch conditions, and announcing right after the game means they knew it all along and waited to see who won before announcing it.

"Second seed Vancouver advances to host the top-seeded Puerto Rico Islanders in the United Soccer Leagues First Division championship final next Sunday, as word came down right after the game that the Islanders didn't meet the league's minimum requirements for hosting a final."

I really hope this isn't a slight on Puerto Rico...

>> I'm very happy for Van people, but what a slap in the face to PR fans !!! They support their team as well as any other ones (someone said the attendance was about 10,000 for the return leg in PR) and the regular season champions should host the final, is it too obvious to be true ??? If I was a fan of PR, I would be sooooooooo mad at the big bosses of the USL to not have the chance to support in person MY #1 TEAM (in regards of the standings) come finals time.


Can the USL please post in their website the logical explanation as to why Puerto Rico, with a stadium twice as big in capacity as Vancouver’s, will not host the league’s final?

The Puerto Rico Islanders’ performance earned them the right to host the final this year, and they continue to make the USL proud in the CONCACAF League of Champions.

I am sure the “league” has a good reason to deny the Islanders this honor in front of their fans.

The league needs to set the record straight on this matter.

The Puerto Rico fans have earned the right to know.

Jose Carrillo, a concerned Islanders fan.

We appreciate your passion/support for the Puerto Rico Islanders.

With respect to your inquiry, the higher seeded team has certain hosting rights provided it is willing/able to meet all of the required USL-1 Championship hosting specifications. In the event the higher seeded team is unwilling or unable to meet all of these event hosting requirements, then the host is determined on the basis of which finalist submits a superior overall proposal - this is the circumstance by which the Vancouver Whitecaps are hosting the 2008 USL-1 Championship next weekend against the Puerto Rico Islanders. (It is also the basis on which the Rochester Rhinos were awarded the right to host the 2006 USL-1 Championship against Vancouver.) The major determining factors include stadium and field considerations, television, fan attendance, media coverage, hotel, transportation, ancillary events, visiting team support, and other financial requirements.

To clarify a misconception that appears to exist, Juan Roman Loubriel Stadium sufficiently meets all of the venue standards for the USL First Division; however the fact that the stadium’s seating capacity is greater than that of Swangard in Vancouver was not a determining factor in our decision.

Finally, our decision to award the hosting rights for this event to the Vancouver Whitecaps is in no way, shape or form a slight on Puerto Rico. As a league, we took the bold and exciting step in 2004 of having the confidence to expand into Puerto Rico due to our belief that the ownership/managemen t was solid and that there would exist support for the team. We have every respect for the fans of the Puerto Rico Islanders and their performance over the past few seasons has exceeded all expectations especially in the CONCACAF Champions League. Keep in mind, the Whitecaps also enjoy strong and passionate fan support. In a situation such as this one, it would be our preference to award both teams the right to host the Championship, which although not possible under our current format, is one of the reasons we are seriously considering the adoption of a two-leg Championship series (consistent with our earlier playoff rounds) moving forward. Importantly, a two-leg format would allow the dedicated fans within each participating market the opportunity to attend our Championship event.

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to express your feelings and opinions.


Tim Holt