Puerto Rico FC's bid to qualify for the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League was over before it even kicked off its last game in Group D of the 2017 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship. Prior to PRFC's match against Scholars International on March 18, Portmore United beat SV Transvaal, 6-1, to clinch top spot in the group and qualification for the final round of the competition.
PRFC took out its frustrations on Cayman Islands' Scholars International, registering a 4-0 win.
FINAL: PRFC 4 - 0 SISC #CCC2017 #SomosPR #SomosNaranja pic.twitter.com/TaylRBU4Sp— Puerto Rico FC (@PRFootballClub) March 19, 2017
But the NASL team's loss to Portmore on March 16 had seemed likely to settle the question of which team would win the group - and proved to be the case.
The Jamaican team moves on to a six-team final round to be hosted in Trinidad by the defending CFU Club Champion, Central FC. The other four qualified teams are San Juan Jabloteh (also from Trinidad and Tobago), Haiti's Racing des Gonaives, Dominican Republic's Cibao, and Grenades FC from Antigua and Barbuda.
PRFC's failure to make it out of a group it hosted is unquestionably a disappointment. The NASL side is backed by Carmelo Anthony and was thought to have ample resources to make an impact on the CFU competition. In the end, however, the team was edged out by a Portmore side that included a healthy component of once-and-future Jamaica national teamers.
Those hoping to see how a team from NASL might fare in CCL perhaps already have an answer: not all that well. Of course, PRFC is in preseason and not considered one of the better teams in NASL - but one can only work with the evidence on hand.
If the Puerto Rican club can qualify for next year's CFU Club Championship, perhaps it will put the disappointment of this year's showing to rest. Until then, it can hope for better results in the NASL season ahead. PRFC's 2017 league campaign kicks off on March 25, against New York Cosmos.