CARY — The crowd didnt top 7,000 or equal its fervor for the Carolina Railhawks recent U.S. Open Cup matches with the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, but the Triangles rapidly improving NASL franchise remains on a roll on the field.
The Railhawks handed the Minnesota Stars their first loss in NASL play with a 5-1 win Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. A week ago Carolina gave the NASLs Puerto Rico its second loss.
This has been coming for a few weeks, said Railhawks coach Colin Clarke. We have players believing in themselves. Were not only winning, were playing well against teams at the top.
By defeating Minnesota, the Railhawks have won four of their last five, with three of the wins over Puerto Rico and Minnesota in NASL play and the MLSs Galaxy in the Open Cup.
The Railhawks improved to 11 points in the league with a record of 2-5-4. Minnesota (4-5-1) entered the match with 17 points to stand tied with Puerto Rico (5-2-2) for first.
The Railhawks Brian Zimmerman and Brian Schriver both scored their fifth goals of the season after entering the Minnesota match tied for fourth in NASL scoring.
The other goals were scored by Austen King, Zack Schilawski and Jason Garey.
Zimmermans goal for a 2-0 lead was deflected off the calf of Schilawski, who had turned his back to face as Zimmerman took his shot. The ball hooked off Schilawski right-to-left into the right corner of the net just out of the reach of Minnesota goalie Kyle Altman.
Shriver rebounded Schilawskis miss off the post for an easy goal in the second half.
Schilawski reached the scoring column on a goal in the 62nd minute with an assist from Breiner Ortiz.
My game is just to work as hard as possible, Schilawski said. Sometimes the ball doesnt bounce your way, but I was able to put in an easy one. It felt good.