The Carolina RailHawks edged FC Edmonton 2-1 at a packed WakeMed Soccer Park despite the visitors staging a late comeback attempt.
Austin De Luz broke the deadlock after 51 minutes with a far post header on the end of a Ty Shipalane cross and 20 minutes later Brian Shriver lifted a stunning 20-yard free kick over the wall and beneath the cross bar to double the lead 20 minutes later. The visiting Canadians threatened a dramatic comeback with an injury time goal from Massimo Mirabelli, but left it too late to recover.
"The first goal is always very important," said Carolina coach Colin Clarke. "They hit the post but we got the first one and settled down and gained some confidence. We played some good football, passed the ball well, and its nice to get the first win tonight.
"If we are going to be successful we need our fans to be happy and we’ve put ourselves in a good spot and its so much easier for the players to play with the crowd behind us. We’re grateful for them coming out tonight and look forward to seeing them next week.”
It was rough justice on FC Edmonton who enjoyed the upper hand in the first half. After Michael Cox had seen a shot parried by opening weekend’s Player of the Week Akira Fitzgerald, Daryl Fordyce rifled a shot against the foot of the upright with a quarter of an hour played.
It didn’t take long for the RailHawks to put pressure on the Eddies backline, as inside the first five minutes they were awarded a series of corner kicks. FC Edmonton were able to ride the early storm, and have a chance of their own when forward Fordyce struck the post.
The RailHawks continued to press and Eddies goalkeeper Lance Parker had to come up big to make a number of good saves before the the ball rolled harmlessly out of play.
It continued to be an entertaining but goalless first half of soccer, as both teams found themselves with chances on either end. Joint forwards Fordyce and Michael Cox combined well together to earn most of the chances for the Eddies.
De Luz put the RailHawks in front before the Eddies once again hit the woodwork with a shot from Cox, but then Shriver sent a header just over the bar and doubled the hosts' lead.
Jalali danced around the defense to supply Mirabelli who side-footed home his finish, but the RailHawks were not to be denied.
“I thought we were the better side there (in the first half),” said FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller. “We looked far more dangerous."
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