The Fort Lauderdale Strikers host the Carolina RailHawks for the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two sides. The Strikers have the lead in the season series, with a win and two draws against Carolina, but for the second season in a row the series could end even with a RailHawks victory.
The RailHawks are also coming off a disappointing result, dropping maximum points at home after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After going a goal down early in the first half, Carolina built a two goal cushion to lead 3-1 with just five minutes remaining. Mike Ambersley had a penalty saved by Ray Burse after Luke Mulholland reduced the deficit to one, but Takuya Yamada was the hero for the Rowdies from the ensuing corner kick, putting the ball in the back of the net to complete a thrilling Rowdies comeback.
The result draws comparisons to the last time the RailHawks played the Strikers, though that time the RailHawks were on the other end on the comeback. The team scored early, but found themselves down 3-1 to Fort Lauderdale with less than four minutes left in the ninety. Mike Palacio’s second goal of the night made it a one goal game before Ty Shipalane’s injury-time equalizer completed a dramatic comeback and secured a memorable point for the hosts.
Away games have been a thorn in the Strikers’ side all season, as the team’s failure to collect points from matches on the road continued this past weekend with a 4-2 road loss to the Atlanta Silverbacks in Atlanta. Fortunately for the Strikers, the RailHawks have had just as much trouble on the road this season, going 1-2-5 away from home this season. Carolina face a difficult task as the Strikers have lost just four of their last 24 home matches since the start of the 2011 season.
Heading into this match the Strikers are a single place and two points ahead of Carolina in the standings, although the RailHawks have two games in hand. With both teams very much involved in the playoff race and on similar point totals, the match is a six-pointer—a Strikers win and the team moves five points ahead, while a RailHawks win means the Strikers fall a point behind.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Carolina RailHawks
Saturday, August 11, 2012— 7:30 P.M. EDT
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Fort Lauderdale, 1-2-0, 5 points
2012 Series: Tied, 2-0-2, 6 points
Fort Lauderdale Carolina
Head Coach Daryl Shore Colin Clarke
2012 Records 5th: 7-6-8, 27 points 6th: 6-7-6, 24 points
Last Five Games T W L W L W T W L T
Goals Leader Mark Anderson (11) Nick Zimmerman (11)
Assists Leader Walter Restrepo (8) Mike Palacio (4)
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