Costa Rican midfielder Cesar Elizondo was the hero for the Carolina RailHawks for the second time in the space of five days as his goal rescued a point in a 1-1 draw away to FC Edmonton.
Elizondo struck two minutes from time to cancel out a Michael Cox strike in a game of few chances. On Wednesday night, his extra time goal set Carolina on the path to a famous 3-1 U.S. Open Cup victory over Chivas USA.
The draw means Carolina missed out on a chance to claim top spot in the NASL standings back from the Atlanta Silverbacks, themselves late 1-0 winners in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night.
For FC Edmonton, failing to win at home ruled them out of contention to host the Soccer Bowl in November, but keeps the hopes of the Tampa Bay Rowdies alive.
Clear chances were few and far between as the side went in 0-0 at the break. Lance Laing impressed for the hosts, attempting a speculative 50-yard free kick that sailed just over the cross bar after 32 minutes and preventing Ti Shipalane from getting off a finish when through on goal on the stroke of halftime.
Defender Albert Watson headed a Laing free kick across goal after 22 minutes but the Eddies were short in numbers to apply a finish in the box. Visiting keeper Akira Fitzgerald punched away a Massimi Mirabelli cross, aimed towards young debutant striker Sadi Jalali a few minutes later, but neither side could create a clear-cut chance.
When the game’s opening goal came it was worth waiting for as in the 73rd minute Cox picked up a pass from Shaun Saiko inside the penalty area and fired an unstoppable shot over Fitzgerald.
But the RailHawks persevered and struck late in the dying minutes as Shipalane found Elizondo in space just a few yards from goal for the equalizer.
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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|