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Affiliate Report: Major roster moves, pre-season news

Lots of things have happened in the preseason for the Islanders since our last update – lets try to break it all down.

Preseason Friendlies

The Islanders went 4-2-1 in their preseason games falling to USSF D-2 side Crystal Palace Baltimore and Penn State, while drawing 0-0 with Temple yesterday at Ambler Field. The Islanders posted wins over UMBC, Bucknell, Towson, and Saint Francis (PA). Testing out many trialists early in the preseason, the Islanders managed not to concede more than one goal in any game.

A bonus for Union fans – the Islanders v. Temple game yesterday featured Union trialist JT Noone dressing for Harrisburg while playing against his alma mater. Toni Stahl was expected to play but was held back after an injury in morning training. Coaches Vartughian and Hackworth were on hand to evaluate Noone’s game and also to get a look at the Islanders potential squad for the 2010 season.

Roster Moves

With a solid returning defensive and central midfield core from last year, the Islanders were looking to fill some gaps created by the offseason departures of many of the team’s scoring threats. After the signing of highly-touted PDL midfielder Nate Jafta, the Islanders have added former Islander Brian Ombiji, Canadian youth internationals Anthony Di Biase and Dominic Oppong, former New York Red Bulls and Penn keeper Danny Cepero, and former Houston Dynamo midfielder Mpho Moloi. Oppong, Moloi, and Ombiji will be counted on to produce quality service and opportunities for an as-yet undefined core of forwards. Di Biase is a fullback with good free kick ability and Danny Cepero returns to City Island where he had a fabulous 2008 campaign on loan from the Red Bulls.

I am legitmately excited about each and every one of these signings. Best yet, there are still a few to come as headman Bill Becher rounds out the team in the next few days. Stay tuned for more signings.

Affiliate Update

I am very excited to see the Union and Islanders taking advantage of their strategic partnership early on. Getting JT Noone extra minutes in game situations and the idea of getting Stahl an extra game while he’s suspended is very positive. Both sides seem to be testing the waters at this point and hopefully we will see more collabotative action this season. We are still waiting on word as to whether any Union players will go on season long loan to Harrisburg. A season-long loan would free up a roster spot for the Union but not salary cap space. Any move in hopes of a roster exepmtion would have to be made prior to April 15th.

The Islanders are stocking the farm, and the Union are certainly paying attention. I expect only good things from this relationship in months and years to come.

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