CARY, N.C. – Every time the RailHawks step on the field, they believe they’ll have three points in the table 90 minutes later.
For the last 10 games, that has been the case.
The RailHawks picked up three points and their 10th straight win Sunday night after dispatching Montreal 2-0 before a crowd of 4,690 at WakeMed Soccer Park.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said RailHawks goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who made three saves en route to his fifth shutout of the season. “You dream of season’s like this. There’s not many teams around the world at a professional level that are going to win 10 games straight. One of our goals is to win every time we step on the field. We believe we can take three points from every game and we’re going to be the better team. That’s been the case so far, and it’s been a great journey.”
The RailHawks are unbeaten over their last 13 matches (12-1-0) and have a double-digit lead at the top of the NASL table at the season’s halfway point.
“It’s exciting for us to get our 10th win in a row,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “That’s a really big thing. It’s something I’ve never done in professional soccer. It’s a big achievement. These guys have worked so hard for it and they deserve it.
The RailHawks (12-1-1) won the game in the first half thanks to goals from Pablo Campos and Nick Zimmerman four minutes apart, then saw the result out over the final 45 minutes. In the second half, Carolina absorbed Montreal’s pressure and never blinked despite being outshot 10-2.
After a quiet opening 20 minutes, the RailHawks poured on the offense over the next 15.
In the 23rd minute, Jonny Steele played a masterful, long diagonal ball to Zimmerman. Montreal goalkeeper stopped Zimmerman’s try, then turned Campos away on the rebound in the 23rd minute. In the 29th minute, Steele once again led a counterattack and playing Watson into the area. Bush came off his line to turn away Watson from point-blank range.
The RailHawks finally solved the Impact defense in the 30th minute. Chris Nurse played a clever chip over the Montreal defense. Campos beat the offside trap and tucked the ball into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Four minutes later, Steele and Zimmerman again hooked up on a long ball. Steele launched a ball from midfield over the Montreal defense, and Zimmerman beat the offside trap. Bush came out, but Zimmerman touched it by him and tucked it into the empty net for his third goal in two games and fifth of the season.
“That was an absolutely incredibly ball by Jonny Steele,” Zimmerman said. “He does that in practice all the time. That’s his goal. He puts it in there, and all I have to do is run into it.”
Now the RailHawks turn their attention to Minnesota, the only team to draw the RailHawks this season. Next Saturday Carolina returns to the National Sports Center, where they drew the Stars 1-1 on April 30.
“It’s rare in any professional sport that you win 10 in a row, especially soccer. It takes a long time to get where we are,” Zimmerman said. “Credit to everybody in the organization. It’s been a fantastic run, and we’re looking to get number 11.”
RAILHAWKS 2, IMPACT 0
CAR: GK Brad Knighton, D Brad Rusin, D Kupono Low, D Devon McKenney, M Floyd Franks, M Matt Watson, M Chris Nurse, M Jonny Steele (Brian Farber, 50th), F Pablo Campos (Allan Russell, 87th), F Etienne Barbara, F Nick Zimmerman (Stephen Glass, 77th)
MON: GK Evan Bush, D Hassoun Camara, D Amir Lowery, D Philippe Bily, D Simon Gatti, M David Testo, M Luke Kreamalmeyer (Mircea Ilcu, 71st), M Leonardo Di Lorenzo (Eduardo Sebrango, 55th), M Anthony Le Gall (Antonio Ribeiro, 46th), F Ali Gerba, F Mignane Diouf
CAR: 30' Pablo Campos (Chris Nurse)
CAR: 34' Nick Zimmerman (Jonny Steele)
CAR: 60' Floyd Franks
CAR: 90' Stephen Glass
CAR: 90'+ Kupono Low
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