CARY — There was a time when a win – in any form – would be a welcomed change for the Carolina RailHawks. But with Carolina now rolling in its last seven games, the expectations have changed.
Coach Colin Clarke now wants the team to strive for perfection, and not settle for just getting wins.
So after the RailHawks took a 2-0 victory Saturday night against FC Edmonton, Clarke said his team will need to learn lessons from its imperfections, which sometimes showed in the second half. Carolina players combined for four yellow cards, no goals and not enough connected passes for Clarke’s liking in the second half of its second straight shutout.
“Winning games breeds confidence and we’re confident at the minute, playing well. But now we need to sit back and re-focus ourselves,” Clarke said. “I certainly think we were ill-disciplined in the second half. Some of our tackles and stuff disappointed me. That can hurt you, if not now then later on ... That’s something we’ll be addressing. Wasn’t happy with that at all.”
The U.S. Open Cup may have served as a catapult for the RailHawks’ season. Its turnaround came right after a nine-game winless streak in the North American Soccer League. But with the first RailHawks win – a 6-0 U.S. Open Cup victory against adult amateur team PSA Elite – came confidence.
Carolina has since bowed out of the Open Cup, but is 6-1-0 dating back to the PSA Elite game.
Clarke wants the team to avoid complacency – easy to do considering the team is still fifth in the NASL, but harder than it sounds given the streak.
“I don’t (want to) say we took our foot off the pedal, but we weren’t good in the areas that we needed to be good in,” Clarke said. “There was stuff that happened in the second half that we’ll learn from and it’ll help us down the road.”
The first half gave Clarke plenty to be happy about.
The RailHawks got on the board in the 34th minute in Saturday’s game thanks to a strong individual effort by midfielder Nick Zimmerman.
Four minutes later, a counter attack saw the linking of passes from Amir Lowery to Zack Schilawski to Breiner Ortiz. Ortiz took a touch before sending in his first professional goal.