Brendan Doherty joins us to round up the latest performances from Caribbean players in the United States…
This article will provide a recap of the most recent club performances of Caribbean players plying their trade in the United States. I will be covering players born in the Caribbean, born to Caribbean parents (who have declared for that national team), and the occasional American player who has lived in the Caribbean and decided to change national team allegiances.
For readers from Britain (or the Caribbean, for that matter) who are unaware with the football system in the U.S., there are three independent leagues that operate on a first, second, and third division basis respectively.
The top league, Major League Soccer, is home to a number of talented national team players from the Caribbean and around CONCACAF. The North American Soccer League has a few up-and-coming players and one or two veterans from around the Caribbean. United Soccer League’s Professional Division is mostly a league of younger players looking to attract the attention of an MLS club.
Two of the top teams in United Soccer Leagues Professional Division (USL-Pro) the last few years also boast a number of impressive Caribbean players. Charleston Battery has a trio of young Cubans, veteran Jamaica forward Dane Kelly and promising Antigua and Barbuda defender/winger Quinton Griffith (see above). Orlando City, back to back regular champions boast Trinidad and Tobago attacking midfielder Kevin Molino (see below) and defensive Haitian player Jean Alexandre.
On Friday July 19, Charleston Battery defeated Dayton Dutch Lions 1-0:
Antiguan wide midfielder Quinton Griffith played the full match and got one shot off. Young Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper made 3 saves in the match while his compatriot striker Eviel Cordovés made a cameo appearance but took 3 shots in the 5 minutes plus stoppage time he was on the field. Jamaican Dane Kelly started and took 4 shots before making way for Cordovés.
On Saturday July 20, Orlando City defeated Harrisburg City Islanders 3-0:
Harrisburg’s young Jamaican forward Jamiel Hardware subbed in for the final 21 minutes of the game but Haitian defensive midfielder Jean Alexandre stole the show for Orlando City. Maintaining the skills of a striker, a position he played earlier in his career, Alexandre netted twice in his 73 minute run-out during his first match back from the Gold Cup.
NASL is on mid-season break as the league began a split season format in 2013. NASL’s Apertura season ended the first week of July and the Clausura tournament starts August 3.
Major League Soccer has several clubs with multiple Caribbean players. Portland Timbers have a contingent of three Jamaicans and Martinique star Frédéric Piquionne. Real Salt Lake is home to Cuban Yordany Álvarez, Puerto Rican national team goalkeeper Josh Saunders, and Jamaicans Lovel Palmer (see below) and Khari Stephenson. A pair of Haitians, Peterson Joseph and Mechack Jérome, play for Sporting Kansas City. Seattle Sounders have a top MLS central midfielder of the past, Shalrie Joseph, and of the present, Osvaldo Alonso. Colorado Rapids have speedsters Atiba Harris from St Kitts and Nevis and young Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown.
On Saturday July 20, Seattle Sounders tied Colorado Rapids:
Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso started and played the full 90 minutes with 3 shots, one of them on goal. Colorado’s Deshorn Brown started as a lone forward and played 74 minute with one shot. Atiba Harris started at right midfielder and played the full 90 minutes.
Portland Timbers’ Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts played the full 90 against Philadelphia and made 3 saves. Ryan Johnson played 76 minutes with one shot on goal while Frédéric Piquionne played the full 90 minutes and took 3 shots, one on goal.
Real Salt Lake’s Jamaican utility player Lovell Palmer played the full 90 minutes at right back. Cuban midfielder Yordany Álvarez started and played 79 minutes before being replaced by Jamaican Khari Stephenson. Starting as the left-center midfield, Haitian Peterson Joseph played 63 minutes for Sporting Kansas City.
By Brendan Doherty
This article was compiled by US football writer Brendan Doherty, owner of http://dohertysoccer.com/. Track him down on Twitter @DohertySoccer