The Tampa Bay Rowdies remained as the only unbeaten side in the NASL Fall Season after playing to a 2-2 draw against the host Carolina RailHawks in front of 4,753 spectators at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Saturday evening.
The Rowdies were seconds from ending the RailHawks home unbeaten streak with a 2-1 advantage, however, midfielder Austin Da Luz notched the equalizer for Carolina as they have not lost in its last nine NASL encounters at the Triangle.
In the first half, Tampa Bay midfielder Stuart Campbell almost secured the opening goal of the match with a curling effort in the 22nd minute, only to miss by inches.
The score held level until the 30th minute, when midfielder Ty Shipalane fired a shot from the top of the box and had it ricochet off the woodwork. Shipalane was fortunate to receive the ball again after the ball deflected off of Rowdies’ defender Frankie Sanfillipo, and buried his second chance to put the RailHawks ahead.
Carolina continued to press their advantage afterward, with forward Brian Shriver nearly netting his 13th goal of the season, only to be denied by the far post in the 39th minute.
“Very exciting game, both teams are trying to win,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill at halftime. “It is always great to see, however I can’t be displeased with our team’s performance in the first half.”
In the second both clubs gunning for the three points, beginning with a chance for RailHawks’ Shriver, who was denied a goal by Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo in a one-on-one scenario.
Tampa Bay tied the match in the 72nd minute when midfielder Evans Frimpong one-timed a pass from forward Georgi Hristov.
The Rowdies took the lead two minutes later when midfielder Luke Mulholland’s cross found defender Jay Needham for the header past the RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.
Carolina’s home unbeaten was in the jeopardy until Da Luz hammered a shot from 18 yards out in the 90th minute for the 1-1 draw.
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