CARY, N.C. – Omar Bravo did what he needed to do when he made his North American Soccer League (NASL) debut, and helped the Carolina RailHawks finish with a 3-3 draw against Miami FC at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday.
Matt Fondy, Brian Shriver and Bravo tallied the RailHawks’ markers against an equally productive offensive output from Miami’s Jamie Chavez’s two goals and Kwadwo Poku’s single.
Ty Shipalane set up the Shriver and Bravo goals and kept FC keeper Mario Vega busy while Carolina keeper Brian Sylvestre didn’t sit idly by either.
Carolina outshot Miami 20-12 throughout the match as 6,060 in attendance looked on.
“I was happy in a lot of ways with the character we showed, from being one-nil down and two-one down and getting back into it and getting ahead,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said.
“We’ve added a very good piece of the team that’s going to make us successful. I’m delighted to have Omar here, delighted to have Fondy, I’m delighted we have those pieces we needed after the Spring season to make us better.”
While Carolina pressured to score early, it was Chavez who put Miami on the board first with a shot high that escaped Sylvestre’s reach.
Fondy evened the score in the 30th minute when a Nazmi Albadawi free kick created an opportunity to do so.
Poku then put Miami ahead 2-1 eight minutes later, a lead the visitors carried into the halftime break.
Shriver headed Shipalane’s cross from the right side into the upper left corner over Vega and both sides were tied at two apiece in the 61st minute.
Then to the delight of the many who anticipated what Bravo’s debut with Carolina could bring, the Mexican star didn’t disappoint and scored his first goal to put the RailHawks ahead 3-2 with 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
The anticipated storybook ending for the home side didn’t come to fruition as Chavez immediately answered back and beat Sylvestre to even the score to the eventual 3-3 final result.
“I think it was a great effort from the team,” Bravo said.
“It was great to get on the field for the first time. I think that it’s important to get to know your teammates.”
With Bravo immersed into the RailHawks culture, he and the club will next travel for three straight games before returning home to host Puerto Rico FC on Sat., Aug. 13
Notes: Fondy’s goal was his second for the RailHawks in three games played with the club…Shriver scored his fifth goal of the season, putting him in fourth place in the league for goals scored. He is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 33 goals in NASL regular season and U.S. Open Cup matches combined…Carolina’s three cautions were the most the team has received in a single match this season.
CAR: Brian Sylvestre; Drew Beckie, Simon Mensing, James Marcelin, Kareem Moses; Tiyi Shipalane (Jonathon Orlando 87), Nazmi Albadawi ©(Austin da Luz 43), Matt Watson (Mickey Daly 25), Brian Shriver; Matt Fondy, Omar Bravo
MIA: Mario Vega; Gabriel Farfán, Mason Trafford (Adaílton 67), Rhett Bernstein, Jonathon Borrajo ©; Jonny Steele (Blake Smith 89), Richie Ryan, Michael Lahoud; Kwadwo Poku, Pablo Campos (Dario Cvitanich 67), Jamie Chavez
Goals: CAR: Fondy (30), Shriver (Shipalane, 61), Bravo (Shipalane, 78); MIA: Chavez (Borrajo 6, Cvitanich 80), Poku (Steele 38)
Cautions: CAR: Marcelin (59), Beckie (82), Mensing (84); MIA: Trafford (65), Poku (90)
Ejections: CAR: –; MIA: —