Second-place Carolina RailHawks battled host Fort Lauderdale Strikers to a 1-1 tie at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday evening, in an encounter that saw both teams finishing with 10 men each.
RailHawks’ Brian Shriver scored the equalizer in the second half when he beat Strikers’ goalkeeper Jeff Attinella from close range to rescue a vital point on the road for Carolina.
“First half we were very disappointing and we didn’t play well, the Strikers were a lot better than us and they wanted it more,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “In the second half we came out so much better but it could have gone either way.”
Scott Gordon opened the scoring for the Strikers in the 37th minute, when he headed home a free kick from Manny Gonzalez that bent past the first line of defense. The free kick came after Strikers’ Daniel Arcila was fouled 25 yards outside the box.
Early in the match, Strikers’ Walter Restrepo had a one-on-one with RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald but sent a shot which went just wide of the far post.
Two minutes later, Strikers’ Justin Chavez cleared a ball right off the goal line after RailHawk’s Austin Da Luz chipped a shot over goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
“A little bit of a slow start, they got in behind us couple time, a little dangerous I think we unfortune to give it away but with a couple of blocks, and we cleared one off the line,” said Strikers coach Daryl Shore. “I think once we settled into the game and figure out we can get behind them as well we created trouble for them later at the half which led to the free kick that got us the goal.”
The match changed dramatically in the 59th minute when the Strikers' Carlos Salazar was sent off for a challenge on Eddie Ababio. This was followed five minutes later by the visitors when defender Kevin Rutkiewicz was also red carded for a tackle from behind on Darnell King.
Down a goal, the RailHawks brought on attacking player Cesar Elizondo as they searched for an equalizer. The breakthrough finally came in the 81st minute of the match when a Ty Shipalane through ball found the feet of Shriver in the box, who lifted the ball over the charging Attinella.
Shore added “It’s disappointing as I believe we gave them too much respect however, positive we didn’t lose, the negative we didn’t win and a 1-1 tie it seems to be a fair result.”
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