By JOSE M. ROMERO
The next two weekends will decide the winner of the USSF-Division Two title.
The second-seeded Carolina Railhawks and eighth-seeded Puerto Rico Islanders emerged from the eight-team playoff rounds as the last two standing, Carolina surviving with a 2-1 aggregate-goals win over the Montreal Impact Sunday night and the Islanders' Nick Addlery scoring two goals in added extra time to lead La Tropa Naranja to a 2-0 victory over No. 5 Vancouver.
The first leg of the championship series is this Sunday at 6 p.m. EST at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel in Bayamon, P.R. Leg Two is set for Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
These are the perfect teams for Halloween time. Both have plenty of orange in their kits, in fact it is their primary color.
Puerto Rico held the Whitecaps scoreless at home in the first semifinal leg, then defended as strongly as Vancouver for 90 minutes across the continent in British Columbia this past Sunday. The match went into added time, and Addlery, a Whitecap in 2008, drove home the winner in the 113th minute.
His second goal came at the very end of the added time, with all of the Whitecaps pushed forward for an equalizer, and Addlery found an empty net.
The Islanders have been to the USL-1 playoffs the past two seasons, making the final but losing to Vancouver in 2008. Carolina, founded in 2006, is making its first appearance in the championship.
The Railhawks trailed 1-0 after the first leg of the Montreal series in Canada. Back in North Carolina, Brad Rusin tied it at 1 with a 72nd-minute goal, and Tom Heinemann avoided extra time with the winner in the 89th minute.
Matt Watson assisted on both goals.