Another dramatic comeback from the Carolina RailHawks (5W-5T-1L, 20pts) keeps them in first place in the NASL Spring Season standings after a 1-1 tie against the Atlanta Silverbacks (5W-3T-3L, 18pts) at WakeMed Soccer Park. The RailHawks extended the 8-game unbeaten streak in NASL play, when Austin da Luz nodded home the tying goal off a Ciaran O’Brien corner kick in the 89th minute of play. With the result, the RailHawks will go on the road to San Antonio, in the driver’s seat to clinch the NASL Spring Season Championship and punch their ticket to the 2013 Soccer Bowl, the NASL’s annual championship game.
“It’s good to be in first place going into the last week of the Spring Season, but it’s disappointing to not be able to deliver the title in front of our home crowd,” said RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke. “Now we will have to take care of business on the road.”
Just when it looked as though the RailHawks might drop in the standings, Clarke once again made a series of strategic substitutions in the last 10 minutes of play that would change the outcome.
On came O’Brien, known for his impeccable service, in the 82nd minute. Then just as he had done last weekend in the RailHawks 3-2 victory over Minnesota, O’Brien played a perfectly placed corner that would give the RailHawks a much needed goal. da Luz finished off the corner kick with power, leaving little chance for Atlanta goalkeeper Joe Nasco to make the save and tying the match 1-1.
Atlanta got on the board in the 63rd minute when Silverbacks defender Bobby Reiss poked home a free kick. Danny Barrera whipped in free kick from 30-yards out that was flicked on to Reiss, who just touch the ball enough to squeeze past an out-stretch RailHawks goalkeeper, Akira Fitzgerald.
The RailHawks will travel to San Antonio in the final week of the Spring Season to face the San Antonio Scorpions on Thursday, July 4th at 8:30pm ET. The match will be broadcast live on www.CarolinaRailHawks.com. The RailHawks will return to WakeMed Soccer Park host Mexican-giant Puebla FC on Saturday, July 6th at 7:30pm ET. Tickets for the Puebla FC match are available and can be puchased by contacting the St. Lawrence Homes Box Office by calling (919) 459-8144 or e-mailing Tickets@CarolinaRailHawks.com.
CAR: GK Fitzgerald, D Low, D Rutkiewicz, D Hamilton, D Graye (Ackley,75), M da Luz, M Millington, M Franks, M Elizondo (Beckford, 88), F Shriver, F Schilawski (O’Brien, 82);
ATL: GK Nasco, D Randolph, D Reiss, D Navarro, D Bloom, M Cruz (Landcaster, 82), M Blanco, M Carr (Mendes, 62), F Luna, F Barrera, F Stisser (James, 69);
CAR: Reiss (Barrera), 63;
ATL: da Luz (O’Brien), 89;
CAR: da Luz, 35; Elizondo, 84;
ATL: Randolph, 38; Reiss, 65;
ATL: Navarro, 90+;
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