CARY, N.C. – The Carolina RailHawks beat the San Antonio Scorpions 3-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday.
Having claimed one victory in their last five matches coming into the game, the RailHawks (4W-1T-6L, 13pts) made an important push upwards in the NASL’s Combined Standings.
“It was a great performance, RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said.
“We got goals out of our midfield, which is good, and we created a lot of chances. They are a good team. They are at the top of the league for a reason, but we dealt with that and moved the ball pretty well.”
The much-needed three points that Carolina earned over the league’s top team put them into fourth place, one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Leading 1-0 at the half on a goal from Nazmi Albadawi, Carolina put together an aggressive attack that kept San Antonio (7W-1T-3L, 22pts) busy defensively throughout the final 45 minutes.
“It was a great, great first-time ball by Ty (Shipalane),” Albadawi said of his strike in 24th minute during the first half.
“Our team was moving the ball around well. Ty put a great one-time ball behind me and I was able to turn the defender. I was running across the box – Devon (Sandoval) made a good run, took his defender with him – I was able to run by that defender and was able to place it in the corner.”
San Antonio head coach Alen Marcina felt his club played well, but made a few mistakes that the RailHawks took advantage of.
“I thought we did a lot of good things to be fair,” Marcina said.
“We created a number of clean opportunities that we should have been better or clinical with in front of the goal, and if we were, it would have been a different game. I thought a few individual errors hurt us. They got limited opportunities, but they put them away. That’s what it came down to.”
In the 61st minute, Carolina took advantage of numbers in the box as Leo Osaki scored his first goal of the season with a one-touch redirect on a feed from Albadawi that extended the lead to 2-0.
Former RailHawks midfielder Cesar Elizondo worked hard to help the Scorpions put balls towards Carolina’s Akira Fitzgerald, but the keeper was the right position on each shot attempt.
In the 71st minute, the Scorpions finally managed to cut into the RailHawks lead as a cross into the box deflected off a body and found Tomasz Zahorski open to get a shot off high and past Fitzgerald.
Carolina eventually put the game out of reach as Enzo Martinez headed a rebounded ball into the goal in the 87th minute after Scorpions keeper Josh Saunders made a save on Sandoval’s initial shot on a play initiated by Shipalane.
Notes: Recently signed forward Nacho Novo was subbed into the game for Sandoval, and made his debut with Carolina in the 89th minute.
Novo, a forward with 16 years of professional experience, spent most of his playing career with Glasgow Rangers where he won three Scottish Premier League Championships, one Scottish Cup Championship and two Scottish League Cups during his seven years with the club.
The native of Spain scored 47 goals over 179 appearances, including a goal that sent the Rangers to the final of the 2008 UEFA Cup.
Sandoval is currently on short-term loan to the RailHawks from Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Real Salt Lake, and may stay longer depending on the needs of the MLS club over the coming weeks.
CAR: GK: Fitzgerald, D: Low (Bentick, 45), Watson-Siriboe, Scott, Graye; M: Shipalane, Marques-Davidson, Osaki (Schilawski, 67) Martinez, Albadawi; F: Sandoval
SAS: GK: Sounder; D: Deroux, Cann, James, Borrajo; M: Elizondo, Soto, Restrepo, Castillo; F: Zahorski, Forbes
GOALS: CAR: Albadawi (Unassisted) – 24th; Osaki (Albadawi) – 61st ; Martinez (Unassisted) – 87th; SAS: Zahorski (Unassisted) – 71st
CAUTIONS: CAR: Low – 45th; Bentick – 70th; SAS: Deroux – 38th
EJECTIONS: CAR: — ; SAS: —