RailHawks reinforce lineup for NASL postseason run

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CARY, N.C. – The Carolina RailHawks made two adjustments to their roster on Tuesday when the team announced that it had signed Gabe Latigue and acquired Danny Barrera from San Antonio in a one-for-one trade that sent Cesar Elizondo to the Scorpions.

Latigue, a former Elon University and Triangle Futbol Club (TFC) stand-out at midfield, signed on with the RailHawks for the duration of the 2014 season.

A member of the RailHawks U-23’s team that captured the 2011 USASA Men’s U-23 Region III and National Championships, Latigue returns to the Triangle after spending most of the 2013 season on loan to the Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) from Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New England Revolution.

“We are thrilled to add another player that learned the game in the Triangle,” RailHawks president Curt Johnson said.

“He is truly a product of soccer in North Carolina. We expect great things from Gabe during the 2014 Fall Season.”

During his time at Elon, the Panther Creek High School graduate scored 15 goals and tallied 17 assists over 82 career appearances.

In 2012, Latigue helped the Phoenix win the Southern Conference Tournament and was recognized as the most outstanding player.

After completing his four-year collegiate career he was selected by the Revolution in the fourth round of the 2013 MLS Supplement Draft.

In March 2013, he was loaned to the Rhinos where he made 16 appearances and recorded 2 assists.

During that time he also made two appearances with the Revolution in U.S. Open Cup play, starting two matches and posting one assist while doing so.

Currently sitting in a three-way tie for fourth place with six points in the North American Soccer League (NASL) standings, Carolina has its sights on making a run into the postseason during Fall League play and to eventually earn a berth in the league’s championship game.

Though losing Elizondo, who appeared in 35 matches with the RailHawks, starting 29 matches and scoring 3 goals, the addition of Barrera is one which head coach Colin Clarke believes will bode well for the club moving forward.

“We are excited to add a young and talented player to our squad,” Clarke said.

“I’ve been following Danny throughout the years and I know he is capable of scoring goals and creating chances for our team. He will fit really well with our locker room and will be an essential part of our roster as we attempt to win the 2014 NASL Championship.”

A Colombia native with NASL experience, Barerra appeared in 13 games this season for first-place San Antonio where he scored a goal and generated two assists over 830 minutes played.

He signed with the Scorpions after previously playing with Atlanta during the 2012 and 2013 season, posting four goals and seven assists in his final season with the Silverbacks.

Following a 1-0 road win over the New York Cosmos last week, the RailHawks will infuse their new players into the roster quickly as they return home to play at WakeMed Soccer Park this Saturday.

Carolina will host the Tampa Bay Rowdies, another fourth-place team, in a pivotal game that could eventually have playoff implications later in the Fall season.