CARY, N.C. – It took a while, but the Carolina RailHawks moved past the Independence and now await the Revolution.
After 120 minutes of play, the RailHawks had not only ended a two-game scoreless drought, but advanced to the fourth round of play in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament with a 5-0 win over the Charlotte Independence at WakeMed Socccer Park on Wednesday.
“Overall I’m very pleased,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke said of the win over the United Soccer League (USL) opponent.
“It’s been a tough run of games for us and the Open Cup is a little break from the league, but it’s very, very important. We knew what the reward was before the game started, to get another home game against an MLS team. So a game we wanted to win, needed to win, and wanted to score some goals and (we) got those things out of the way.”
The victory also avenged a 1-0 Open Cup loss at the hands of the Independence last season.
After going scoreless for another 90 minutes of regulation, the RailHawks tallied all five goals in 25 of the 30 minutes of overtime allotted.
Billy Schuler started it all with two markers, the first and the last, while captain Nazmi Albadawi, Brian Shriver and Jonathon Orlando scored singles in between.
It was a watershed following a dominating second half of regulation, playing a man up due to an earlier red card to former RailHawk Jun Marques Davidson.
Davidson received the card that led to his ejection in the 29th minute after a dangerous challenge leading with his cleats.
Charlotte played the remainder of the match with 10 men, but the RailHawks were unable to convert on multiple chances due to missed shot opportunities and critical stops in close by Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell.
“I thought we played with a lot of grit and character,” Independence head coach Mike Jeffries said.
“The RailHawks are a good technical group on a big field, so they stretched us out. During that time period, we bent a lot, but we didn’t break. Cody makes a ton of plays throughout the remainder of regulation. We needed to make a play at the end of regulation, and we had a couple of half-scoring chances, but we weren’t able to do that. Then in overtime, once the first one came, the dam broke for us. It became hard to push the game.”
Advancing on, previous years play into the Cup’s fourth round has bode well for the RailHawks, coming up victorious over MLS competition with wins over Chivas USA in 2013, and the L.A. Galaxy in 2012 and 2014.
Clarke looked forward to the change in MLS opposition for the next round.
“It’ll be great for our crowd to see someone different than the Galaxy,” he said with a smile.
“It’s another team with great players and some internationals on the team, so it’ll be a tough game. It’s nice to be in the hat, as they say at home for the FA Cup, and advance to the next round.”
CAR: Fitzgerald, Black, Tobin, Mensing, Beckie, da Luz (Schuler 83), Watson, Pérez (Orlando 83), Shipalane (Kelly 108), Albadawi (c), Shriver
CLT: Mizell, Duckett, Slogic, Johnson (Pfeffer 99), Kalungi, Davidson, Ekra, Estrada (Hilton 46), E. Martinez (Herrera 82), Calvert, Brown
GOALS: CAR: Schuler-92, 115; Albadawi- 96; Shriver-99; Orlando, 109; CLT: —
CAUTIONS: CAR: –; CLT: Slogic- 76; Herrera-114
EJECTIONS: CAR: –; CLT: Davidson-29