The Carolina RailHawks held a 2-1 edge over the San Antonio Scorpions at halftime to delighted a home crowd packed in to WakeMed Soccer Park and then scored twice immediately after the break to open a 4-1 lead.
A stunning Floyd Franks strike from 25 yards out earned the RailHawks the lead in the 13th minute, but seven minutes later the visiting Scorpions were level. Hans Denisson scored from the penalty spot, sending Akitra Fitzgerald the wrong way after Paul Hamilton had committed a push inside the area.
The hosts regained the lead in the 37th minute when Brian Shriver capitalized on a defensive error, pressurizing Pat Hannigan as he attempted to clear a back pass that put him under pressure, and Zach Schilawski pounced to find the empty net.
“We should be in control of this game but we let them back in it and now it becomes a tough second half,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “I think we’re going in the right direction but there’s still 45 minutes to go. I just felt that the concentration could be a little better and I’m disappointed that we conceded the goal when we did.”
Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson said: “We came out and our touch was nervous and they were putting a lot of pressure on us and instead of just playing the ball out we gave the ball away. Until we stop beating ourselves it’s going to be difficult.
“We have to challenge our strikers. You travel 2,000 miles to come and play football in the United States and you’d better start producing.”
Three minutes after the break, Shriver scored the RailHawks’ third as Austin Da Luz supplied him with the scoring chance and then with 50 minutes played, Schilawski claimed his second goal of the night with Da Luz again the supplier.
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