The crowd in Fort Lauderdale braved evening rains and forecasted thunderstorms to attend the match between the Carolina RailHawks (3-3-1) and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2-2-4). And though the match was hot and wet, a closely contended game saw several cards before ending in a 1-1 draw.
Neither club seemed to settle down in the opening minutes of the game, as chances were abundant in the beginning of the first half. Strikers’ forward Walter Restrepo missed an early opportunity to put Fort Lauderdale ahead after sending his shot wide of the far post. The RailHawks countered with their own chance merely two minutes later, but Austin da Luz’s chip was cleared off the line at the last second by Strikers’ defender Justin Chavez.
After both teams became acclimated to the wet pitch, Fort Lauderdale pressed their home field advantage and found a goal in the 37th minute off a header from a free kick. Scott Gordon headed in the bending ball from Manny Gonzalez to lead the Strikers into the locker room at halftime with a score of 1-0.
Yet in the second half the RailHawks came out with a new strategy that saw many more chances created, lending hope to a seemingly improbable comeback after their performance in the first half. An early spell of both attacking and probing gave way to a handful of shots, but no equalizing goal. After fouls broke up play in the subsequent minutes of the second half, tensions ran high on the pitch, leading to a red card for Strikers’ captain Carlos Salazar. His foul on Eddie Ababio saw the Railhawks up a man in the 57th minute.
That advantage was short lived however, as just 4 minutes later the RailHawks’ Kevin Rutkiewicz was also shown a red card for a harsh challenge in midfield. Both clubs found more space with only 10 men each on the pitch, but it was the RailHawks who were able to capitalize, when in the 81st minute Brian Shriver sent a chip over Strikers’ goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to draw the Hawks level at 1-1, where the match would finish shortly thereafter. With this draw, the RailHawks move to second in the NASL, trailing rivals Atlanta Silverbacks by a point.
The RailHawks return to NASL action next Saturday on June 8th at WakeMed Soccer Park against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The match will be broadcast live on http://www.CarolinaRailHawks.com/LIVE. Shortly thereafter on Wednesday, June 12, the RailHawks are back at WakeMed Soccer Park to take on MLS giants Chivas USA in fourth round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Tickets for both matches can be purchased through the St. Lawrence Homes Box Office by calling 919-459-8144 or by emailing tickets@CarolinaRailHawks.com.
|New York Cosmos||31||14||9||4||1||10|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||20||14||5||5||4||3|
|Minnesota United FC||20||14||6||2||6||2|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||18||14||5||3||6||-2|
|San Antonio Scorpions||10||14||3||1||10||-9|
|San Antonio Scorpions||20||12||6||2||4||4|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||18||12||5||3||4||5|
|Minnesota United FC||14||12||4||2||6||-5|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||12||2||2||8||-14|