The RailHawks won their first NASL game of the season Saturday when they defeated league-leading Puerto Rico Islanders 2-1 despite playing over 50 minutes one man down. RailHawks goals were scored by Ty Shipalane in the 88th minute and an own goal by the Islanders at the start of the second half. The win was the RailHawks third straight in all competitions which included a 2-1 win on Tuesday May 29 versus reining MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy.
“It’s nice to keep the winning streak going. We won with ten men against eleven and thoroughly deserved it; we outplayed them today and earned three valuable points,” said Head Coach Colin Clarke. “We have two more games this week and so now we need to get back to work and see how some guys recover from today’s match. We are looking forward to Tuesday’s match.”
The RailHawks, who outshot the Islanders 6 to 2 in the first half, controlled play for the first 45 minutes. However neither team was able to find a goal. The RailHawks suffered a setback in the 37th when Gale Agbossoumonde was shown a red card for a foul on Jonathan Faña. Despite having to play a man down, the RailHawks were still able to put pressure on Puerto Rico. Amir Lowery showed his versatility dropped back to anchor the defense.
In the second half the RailHawks continued to dominate and found the first goal of the match following a free kick in 52nd minute. The shot took a pair of deflections before finding the back of the net. The heated play continued with a six yellow cards for in the second half and 26 fouls on the night. The Islanders found the equalizer in the 79th minute when Jay Needham tapped a Faña pass into the goal. It was substitute Shipalane who again played a crucial role in the final outcome when he scored the goal winner in the 88th minute after receiving a long pass from goalkeeper Ray Burse.