Two goals in the final five minutes from Brian Shriver propelled the Carolina RailHawks (5W-4T-1L, 19pts) to a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United (4W-2T-4L, 14pts). With the victory, paired with an Atlanta Silverbacks loss, the RailHawks jump to first place in the NASL Spring Season standings and could clinch the Spring Season on Saturday, June 29th.
“We weren’t good defensively the first 15 minutes and didn’t deal with Campos very well,” said RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke. “After that, I thought we were the better team.
For the fourth consecutive match, the RailHawks have scored a game-tying or game-winning goal in the final 10 minutes of play. After outshooting Minnesota 22 to 10, the RailHawks struck twice in the final 5 minutes. This time it was Brian Shriver who recorded his 7th and 8th goal of the season in the 86th and 88th minute to earn the dramatic victory.
“The boys are enjoying themselves and now we have the opportunity to play for a Championship in front of our home crowd,” stated Clarke. “Saturday’s match versus Atlanta becomes even more important and we have the opportunity to secure home field for the Soccer Bowl.”
The RailHawks will host Atlanta on Saturday, June 29th at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7:00pm ET. With a victory over Atlanta, the RailHawks would win the NASL Spring Championship and host the NASL Soccer Bowl, the league’s championship game. The Soccer Bowl will pit the winner of the Spring Season against the winner of the Fall Season, with the Spring Champion hosting the match.
Minnesota jumped on the scoreboard early when the RailHawks were caught with suspect defense. In the 4th minute, Simone Bracalello received the ball at the top of the RailHawks box and fired the ball into the RailHawks net. Only 6 minutes later, Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel played a ball over the RailHawks backline. Minnesota forward Pablo Campos muscled past a defender and finished a volley into the far post.
In the 25th minute, Floyd Franks drew the RailHawks a goal back when he was fouled in the box, earning a penalty kick. Franks stepped up and converted the kick to put the RailHawks only a goal back going into halftime.
The RailHawks will next travel to Utah to face Real Salt Lake in the Quarterfinal Round of the 100th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, June 26th. The match will be broadcast live on www.CarolinaRailHawks.com and the RailHawks will host a watch party starting at 8:30pm at the Mellow Mushroom in Cary. The RailHawks will then return to WakeMed Soccer Park to host the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, June 29th at 7:00pm ET. Prior to the June 29th match, the RailHawks will host the Second Annual Pregame Pig Pickin’ Festival starting at 4:45pm and will finish the night with a Fireworks Extravaganza immediately following the match. For more information and to purchase tickets call the St. Lawrence Homes Box Office at (919) 459-8144 or visit www.CarolinaRailHawks.com.
CAR: GK Fitzgerald, D Low, D Rutkiewicz, D Hamilton, D Graye, M da Luz, M Millington (O’Brien, 85), M Franks, M Elizondo (King, 90), F Shriver, F Schilawski (Ackley, 73);
MNU: GK Van Oekel, D Davis, D Altman (Friedland, 45), D Kallman, D Dias, M Takada, M Arguez (Wall, 79), M Ibarra, M Bracalello, F Griffin (Pitchkolan, 62), F Campos;
CAR: Franks, 25; Shriver (Low), 86; Shriver (O’Brien), 88;
MNU: Bracalello (Takada), 4; Campos (Van Oekel), 10;
CAR: Franks, 53;
MNU: Campos, 62; Arguez, 75;
|New York Cosmos||31||14||9||4||1||10|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||20||14||5||5||4||3|
|Minnesota United FC||20||14||6||2||6||2|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||18||14||5||3||6||-2|
|San Antonio Scorpions||10||14||3||1||10||-9|
|San Antonio Scorpions||20||12||6||2||4||4|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||18||12||5||3||4||5|
|Minnesota United FC||14||12||4||2||6||-5|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||12||2||2||8||-14|