NASL Rewind: PRFC debuts with tie against spring champ

In its first NASL game, Puerto Rico FC tied spring champ Indy Eleven, 1-1, on the opening weekend of the fall season. 2016 spring runner-up and 2015 champion New York Cosmos opened with a win over 2015 runner-up Ottawa while Christian Ramirez  scored a hat trick for Minnesota.

Ramirez, who struck five times in the spring season as Minnesota finished fourth, had three goals and assisted on Danny Cruz’s goal in a 5-1 win over Carolina.

2016 Leading Scorers
8 Christian Ramirez (Minnesota)
6 Eamon Zayed (Indy Eleven)
5 Michel (Rayo OKC)

Puerto Rico owner Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks star, attended the expansion club’s first game, which drew a crowd of 6,474 in Bayamon. The home team took a 1-0 lead in the 74th minute on a goal by Puerto Rican Hector Ramos, who most recently played for El Salvador’s Aguila and Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadisiyah.

“I hope that I can score the first goal,” Ramos had said before the game. “It’d be such a joy for me, my family, and the island.”

He did indeed. But Nemanja Vukovic struck for Indy Eleven in stoppage time deny Puerto Rico a winning start to its first season and keep Indy Eleven undefeated in 2016.

NASL Week 1, Results
Ft. Lauderdale 1 (Agbossoumonde 53) Miami FC 1 (Cvitanich 18)
Att.: 1,431
New York 2 (Moffat 9, Mkosana 46+) Ottawa 1 (Paulo Junior 91+)
Att.: 3,518
Puerto Rico FC 1 (Ramos 74) Indy Eleven 1 (Youla 92+)
Att.: 6,474
Tampa Bay 1 (Hristov 13) Jacksonville 1 (Steinbeger 12)
Att.: 7,690
Minnesota 5 (Ramirez 20, 24, 75, Pinho 46+, Calvano 47) Carolina 1 (Watson 90)
Att.: 7,909
Rayo OKC 1 (Findley 33) Edmonton 1 (Salgueiro 93+)
Att.: 4,257

NASL
Standings | Schedule

In a rematch of the 2015 final, the New York Cosmos downed Ottawa, 2-1, while playing with a man advantage after the 8th minute ejection of Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser for a foul on Lucky Mkosana, who in his first start of 2016 also scored the deciding goal.

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