Haiti shuts out the USVI, 6-0, in Cup prelim

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The second round of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football qualifying kicked off Friday, and the U.S. Virgin Islands men's soccer team got off to a rocky start.

Jean Alexandre scored twice to lead Haiti to a 6-0 victory over the USVI in Port-au-Prince. James Marcelin, Jean-Eudes Maurice and Kennel Pierre-Louis also found the net for a Haitian team considered to be the top contender in the four-team qualifying group.

"We always knew Haiti would be our toughest challenge, and traditionally, they have strong players playing professionally from all over the world," USVI Soccer Association President Hillaren Frederick said. "We played them in 2001 and lost 11-0. I truly believe we have improved a lot since then. We need to move forward."

For the USVI, it is the first time the team has ever advanced this far in CONCACAF qualifying. The squad is scheduled to play three home-and-away series against Haiti, Antigua and CuraƧao. Only one team will advance to the next round and continue its charge toward the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The USVI's next match will be against Antigua on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Paul E. Joseph Stadium in Frederiksted.

In a text message, USVI technical director Keith Griffith described the Haitians as "too professional and too organized."

It was the first international soccer match played at Stade Sylvio Cator in Port-au-Prince since a deadly earthquake struck the country on Jan. 12, 2010. The Haitian faithful showed up for the event as Griffith estimated more than 15,000 fans were in attendance.

"There was no disgrace in the defeat," Griffin wrote. "However, there were some serious injuries."

Jaymi Brown came off the pitch in the first half with an ankle injury, and Reid Klopp, who scored two goals for the USVI in its two wins over the British Virgin Islands in July, went down with a groin injury with 10 minutes left to play.

Frederick said two college players on the team couldn't get the time off from school as the USVI only had 15 active players make the trip to Haiti.

Tickets for Tuesday's match

The U.S. Virgin Islands men's soccer team will host Antigua in the next CONCACAF qualifying match on Tuesday at Paul E. Joseph Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased for $15 at Urban Threadz. Tickets will not be sold at the gate. For more information, call Chantel Bird at 719-9707 or email usvisoccer@vipowernet.net.

- Contact sports writer Aaron Gray at 774-8772 ext. 352 or email agray@dailynews.vi.

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