The Carolina RailHawks produced a stunning comeback during stoppage time to grab a 2-1 victory from the jaws of defeat and take over at the top of the North American Soccer League standings.
The Atlanta Silverbacks surrendered the top spot as they were held to a 1-1 stalemate by FC Edmonton and were joined in second place a point behind the RailHawks by Minnesota United FC. Home striker Pablo Campos struck with his second goal in a 2-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers deep into added time.
Colin Clarke’s Carolina side trailed a 10-man Tampa Bay Rowdies team that was previously unbeaten away from home in four outings this season until substitute Cesar Elizondo headed home a deep Austin Da Luz cross with 90 minutes on the clock to equalize. Looking to preserve a perfect home record at WakeMed Soccer Park and claim pole position in the race to host Soccer Bowl 2013, the RailHawks then sent the home crowd wild with a winner four minutes into added time as Ti Shipalane fired home a composed finish that proved to be the late winner.
“It was fun to watch and entertaining for the crowd and it’s great to get three points,” said RailHawks coach Clarke. “Its unbelievable and the crowd will go home happy. There are four games left and they just get bigger and bigger and that’s why you play the game. Hopefully that will result in us having the Soccer Bowl back here in November.”
The Atlanta Silverbacks surrendered pole position in the NASL standings when they were held at home 1-1 by a defiant FC Edmonton, who fought back despite having influential midfielder Chris Nurse sent off for picking up two yellow cards.
Brad Stisser’s first goal of the season put the Silverbacks ahead on the hour mark, but a stunning strike from Neil Hlavaty put the Canadians back on level terms.
“This team is so full of character summoned up by no less by our captain Albert Watson who had his two front teeth knock out here and now he is on his way in an ambulance to get them put back in believe it or not and he continued to play throughout the match,” said FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller.
Silverback coach Brian Haynes said of the equalizer that held his team: “It was great goal, I can’t deny that. I think we played great until we gave up that goal and then we let down for a couple of seconds and that is what happens. You can’t afford to let down in the league and we got punish for it. Lesson learned now, we go on the road now to Fort Lauderdale to make sure we get three points there.”
Minnesota United produced late dramatic scenes as forward Pablo Campos, having scored the game-tying penalty after 54 minutes, sealed victory with the injury time clock ticking down as he headed home a Simone Bracalello cross in a 2-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Darnell King had scored an opportunistic goal with only eight minutes played as he stole a loose ball from keeper Matt van Oekel and slid the ball into an empty net to earn the visitors a halftime lead.
“It became a special night to win that way because the guys didn’t give up,” said United FC coach Manny Lagos. “I just felt like we were creating some chances in the second half and had the energy to get back into the game. We’re obviously excited to get three points.”
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|