Enzo Martinez scored his second goal of the year, but his lone marker wasn’t enough as Indy’s Ben Spencer and Don Smart earned the visitors their first win of the season and handed Carolina its second loss in four days.
A red card in the 57th minute to defender Austen King for intentionally tripping Spencer at the top of the box put the RailHawks down to 10 on the field for the remainder of the match and provided Indy the advantage it needed to top Carolina in front of its modest crowd of 3,080 in attendance.
“First and foremost, very disappointed,” Carolina head coach Colin Clarke said.
“Obviously in giving up our unbeaten record, how we played, and obviously the end result.”
The RailHawks had lost 5-2 to Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas in U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday and were playing in a physically depleted state.
Though he didn’t want to refer to it as the reason, Clarke still mentioned it.
“Anything I say is gonna’ sound like an excuse, but there were circumstances – a tough game Wednesday. I decided our course of action was to play the same team who were so good against Dallas, and keep that going. With some tired legs, we’re still not playin’ great…we just weren’t sharp with our passing and concentration. Then the red card completely changed the game.”
The RailHawks glaringly showed what could be thought of as a ‘Cup crash’ after earning exceptional wins over Chivas USA and the LA Glalaxy during their break from NASL play.
They turned the ball over on numerous occasions, particularly in the midfield, and allowed Indy to press often towards goalkeeper Scott Goodwin who posted his first loss while his making his NASL season debut.
Fresh legs were a factor that the Eleven used to their favor in making their first trip to the Triangle for the two clubs’ second matchup of the season.
Both had played to a 1-1 draw during the Spring season opener at sold out (11,048) Michael A. Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. back on Apr. 12.
“It’s a hard loss,” RailHawks defender Kupono Low said.
“Indy came out well with a lot of pressure and made it difficult for us to pass and play, so it’s a huge credit to them…Tonight wasn’t our night and Indy played well.”
While Carolina battled three straight MLS sides in Open Cup play and two-time Mexican League champion Puebla FC in a friendly, Indy had finished its play in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament back on June 17, losing to the Columbus Crew in the fourth round.
They had ample time to prepare and successfully upset the Railhawks on their home turf, outchancing them in corner kicks (8-2) and outshooting them by a 19-3 margin.
“We had a few breaks go our way tonight, so that helped, as well as Colin’s group coming off a long week as well,” Indy head coach Juergen Sommer said.
“There was definitely gonna’ be some benefit to us going late into the second half. Best we could, we just kept tryin’ to push the game and keep the tempo of the game pretty high.”
As the loss to FC Dallas ended Carolina’s 23-game unbeaten streak at home against Open Cup and NASL competition combined, the subsequent league loss ended its 17-game NASL regular season home unbeaten streak.
Both downfalls have now provided the full flushing of memories of repeated success that the team accrued to date.
The RailHawks are now faced with a situation in which they must not only show a desire to win, but must follow through accordingly by climbing to the top of the table if intentions on competing for a championship title in November are serious.
“We’ve gotta’ move on,” Clarke said.
“We’ll learn from it, we’ll go through it and we’ll analyze it and we’ll look at it. I’ll take some things away from it, but it’s gone now. The run is gone, that’s all over. We need to start another one – we need to start another next week – not wait until we get back at home. Now we’ve gotta’ go on the road and make sure we get a result, start pickin’ up some points in the Fall season.”
Notes: Midfielder Cesar Elizondo did not dress due to a knee injury…At the end of the game, midfielder Nick Millington announced his retirement from the team and pro soccer to pursue law studies at UNC…With forward Mike Grella and defender Tony Stahl not re-signing with the team for the Fall season, Japanese midfielder Leo Osaki made his NASL league debut after appearing in friendlies against the U.S. U-20 National Team and Puebla FC. Clarke indicated that the club would continue to search for additional players to add to the team’s depth in the center mid and backfield positions…Before kickoff, both teams, along with all in the stadium, held a moment of silence in memory of former RailHawks U-23 player Farouk Bseiso who passed away on Thursday. The RailHawks subsequently played the game wearing black arm bands in his honor.
CAR: GK Goodwin, D Low, D Scott, D Au. King, D Tobin, M Davidson, M Zimmerman (Osaki, 58’), M Martinez, M Albadawi (Aa. King, 89), M Shipalane (Jackson, 72), F Schilawski;
IND: GK Nicht, D Stone, D Norales, D Frias, D Estridge, M Corrado (Smart, 66), M Smith, M Kleberson, M Pineda (Ring ’90), F Ambersley, F Spencer (Mares, 83)
GOALS: CAR: Martinez – 24th ;IND: Spenser – 65th ; Smart – 87th
CAUTIONS: CAR:Albadawi 62’ ; Low – 85th ; IND:Estridge, 10’ ; Smart 87’
EJECTIONS: CAR: Au. King, 57’; IND: —