RailHawks end season with 2-2 draw against Minnesota United

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CARY, N.C. – The Carolina RailHawks ended their 2014 NASL Fall season with a 2-2 tie against Minnesota United in front of 6,460 in attendance at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday.

Seeking to secure a playoff spot, the RailHawks needed a victory against Minnesota, and combined with a loss by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, would have advanced to the postseason NASL Championship.

However, they fell short of that conclusion, even with offensive contributions from Nacho Novo and Nazmi Albadawi who scored a goal apiece for the RailHawks.

“I thought we were exceptional in the first half, and I thought we did very, very well,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said.

“We knew it was going to be a tough second half against the wind. We didn’t start the second half well, and we gave too many easy balls away to give them all the momentum and paid for it.”

Midfielder Ty Shipalane set up the first goal in the 22nd minute as he weaved his way through three defenders and delivered a pass to Novo who one-timed a shot that gave Carolina a 1-0 lead that it carried into halftime.

A bizarre event occurred just as both teams were set to start the second half – the stadium lights went off and as a result caused a 30-minute delay.

After the game was resumed, Minnesota evened the score 1-1 in the 52nd minute.

The RailHawks regained the lead, 2-1, in the 74th minute as Alex Martinez slid past two Minnesota defenders and found Albadawi open in the box.

While fans and team officials were not only following the game in front of them on the pitch, they also kept an eye on the result of the match between Fort Lauderdale and Ottawa.

The RailHawks were less than five minutes away from earning the final Championship spot when the Strikers scored against the Fury to tie their game and thereby eliminated Carolina from further NASL Championship contention.

A late own goal by Carolina defender Connor Tobin eventually gave Minnesota a 2-2 draw.

Given the better season-long goal differential for the Strikers, the tying goal did not change the postseason outcome for the RailHawks and their season ended with the final blast of the referee’s whistle.

Carolina finished the Spring Season at 4-2-3, the Fall Season at 7-3-8, and an overall Combined Season record of 11-5-11 – good for fifth place.

Notes: Prior to the game, the Carolina RailHawks announced the following winners of their 2014 team awards: Jordan Burt (Summit Hospitality Community Service Award), Justin Willis (Summit Hospitality Community Service Award), Connor Tobin (Summit Hospitality Community Service Award),  Daniel Scott (Defensive Player of the Year), Zack Schilawski (Offensive Player of the Year), Jun Marques-Davidson (Team Leadership Award and MVP) and Nazmi Albadawi (WakeMed Unsung Hero Award and Fan Favorite Award).

BOX SCORE

LINEUPS:

CAR: Goodwin; Scott, Low, Graye, Tobin, Osaki (E. Martinez, 79th), Albadawi, Shipalane, Martinez (Jackson, 90th), Barrera (Shilawski, 79th), Novo
MNU: VanOekel; Davis, Dias, Brent, Kallman, Venegas, Vicentini (Burgos, 83rd), Reed, Jordan (Watson, 85th), Ibarra, Daley(Campos, 70), Ramirez

GOALS: CAR: Novo (Shipalane) – 22nd ; Albadawi (A. Martinez) – 74th ; MNU: Ramirez (Jordan) – 52nd ; Tobin (Own goal)

CAUTIONS: CAR: Osaki – 35th ; Scott – 61st; Tobin – 90th ; MNU: Dias – 64th ; Juliano 83rd

EJECTIONS: CAR: — ; MNU: —