Digicel Pro League Champions W Connection will line-up against two-time defending Caribbean Football Union Club Champions Puerto Rico Islanders in one of two semi-final round match-ups in Trinidad, decided the CFU.
Caledonia AIA, also of the Digicel Pro League, goes up against Antigua Barracudas, which is a member club in the United States’ United Soccer Leagues(USL), in the other semi-final match-up.
Islanders, winner of Group Four, and Group Five runner-up Connection will do battle from 8pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium and two hours earlier at the same Marabella venue, Group Five winner Barracudas and Group Four runner-up Caledonia are against eachother from 6pm on Tuesday 19 June.
The winners will advance into the Club Championship Final on Thursday 21 June to decide the winner, and the defeated semi-finalists will meet in a third place playoff on the same day with the top three clubs advancing into next season’s CONCACAF Champions’ League.
The three Caribbean berths are the last remaining spots still undecided in the 24-team field for the Champions’ League which will begin July 31.
Islanders, which plays in the North American Soccer League(NASL)—the second tier of the United States soccer pyramid, were held to a goalless draw by Caledonia in their opening Group Four clash (May 21) in the Cayman Islands, but went on to hammer hosts George Town 8-0 (May 25) with former W Connection striker Jonathon Fana Frias registering a hattrick. George Town was torn well before the Islanders clash after suffering a 5-0 (May 23) defeat against Caledonia two days earlier.
In early May, Group Five was hosted in Trinidad and home club W Connection started with a 2-0 win over Haitian club Victory SC (May 6) and followed up with a 6-0 win against Surinamese side Inter Moengotapoe (May 8). However ended the group stage with a 2-1 defeat against eventual leaders Barracudas (May 10) after head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier started seven regulars on the bench having already qualified out of the CFU Club Championship group stage and also preparing for a domestic Digicel Pro Bowl semi-final match against Caledonia a day later.
On Tuesday of this week, after lengthy deliberations and dialog with the final four clubs, the CFU headed by recently installed president Gordon Derrick—owner of Barracudas—announced its plans for the final stage pitting the two second-round group winners against the runners-up from the opposite group.
Barracudas chewed Moengotapoe 3-0 in its first group match (May 6) but only managed a 0-0 draw against Victory (May 8) before getting finishing with the win against Connection and based on the semi-final round format, avoided two-time defending champs PR Islanders.