CONTROVERSIAL CALL KEEPS PRFC FROM RETURNING HOME WITH POINTS

Jul 15, 2017

San Juan, Puerto Rico-  In Puerto Rico FC’s final match of the spring season, a North Carolina FC penalty shot in the 92nd minute kept PRFC from returning home with points. The match played at Sahlen’s Stadium at Wake Med Soccer Park, ended 2-1 in favor of the home side.

"Tough game. The guys kept fighting hard to keep the game 1-0 and we did a great job turning the game around in the final out. We have to be tougher and grind games out," said Interim Head Coach Marco Velez.

PRFC was met by a very different NCFC than the one that has taken the field in the past few weeks. The home side controlled the midfield, making it difficult for Puerto Rico to generate a consistent attack. In the 17th minute, NCFC leading goal scorer Lance Laing flew by Puerto Rico's defense. The midfielder received the pass of Nazmi Albadawi and calmly scored to take the lead 1-0.

With 35 minutes gone, Jairo Puerto had PRFC’s best opportunity of the half. The Honduran received a perfect pass from Sidney Rivera on the left wing, shooting from long distance but the shot sailed over the crossbar.

In the second half Michael Kafari and Kyle Culbertson came in to strengthen the midfield. Both players helped PRFC get to NCFC’s side of the field more consistently and it was Culbertson who provided the assist in the 84th minute that tied the game. After a corner kick from Kafari, Culbertson received the ball in the opposing wing. The midfielder sent a cross to Phanuel Kavita who finished the equalizer.

In the 92nd minute, Culbertson was in the center of the action again, but this time because of a foul that he committed outside the penalty box. Despite this, the referee gave a penalty kick to Matt Fondy to give the final advantage to the home side 2-1.

"Its out of our hands. Its not just that play that changed the game and its not what determined the game," added Velez.

Puerto Rico FC will return to Cary to open the spring season on July 29. They then return to Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium on August 5th to host Jacksonville. Tickets are on sale at PRTicket.com and puertoricofc.com/tickets.

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