CARY — Zack Schilawski calmly walked across the pitch at WakeMed Soccer Stadium as the 8,121 happy fans started to head for the exits. The Cary native traded handshakes and hugs with many passersby on his way to the RailHawks home bench.
For the last two years, he has been given feedback on why he cant play in Major League Soccer. And for the second year in a row, he and other Carolina players who have been told similar things had taken down the defending MLS champs in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The RailHawks scored two goals less than two minutes apart, with Schilawski assisting on both, to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Wednesday night in a rematch from last years third round. And just like last year, Carolina is set to host another U.S. Open Cup game against LAs other MLS team, Chivas USA. That game is scheduled for June 12.
We wouldve been hugely disappointed if we hadnt gotten the win tonight. ..., Schilawski said. I dont think theres a huge difference in the team they put out tonight and some of our guys that have had MLS experience.
Early on, the RailHawks didnt win many 50-50 balls or headers, but that changed during the course of the first half as Julius James became more involved. James, who joined Carolina this year after five years in MLS, also added a block on a close-range shot by the Galaxy.
The Galaxy took six shots in the period to Carolinas two. Were delighted we kept a clean sheet, Carolina coach Colin Clarke said. It had been awhile.
The two most promising Carolina first-half attacks were when Tiyi Shipalane was taken down in the box in the 9th minute with no call and a counterattack from Brian Shriver that ended with a grounded pass being snuffed out by the Galaxy keeper.
The two sides entered halftime scoreless.
In the second half, Schilawski caught up to a long through ball and crossed it just before it went over the touch line. The ball found Austin Da Luz, another player who had spent a few years in MLS, who ripped a shot that hit goalkeeper Brian Rowes mitts before trickling over the line, giving Carolina a 1-0 lead in the 59th.
It didnt take long to double the lead.
Brian Shriver broke free down the left side in the 61st, taking a through ball from Schilawski and beating Rowe with a shot to the right corner.
The Galaxy, which left coach Bruce Arena at home, had six corner kicks in the second half, but couldnt get anything across for a goal unlike last year, when they lost 2-1 to Carolina.
Shipalane and Schilawski each picked up yellow cards for Carolina. The win brings the RailHawks record to 3-3 against MLS teams in the U.S. Open Cup.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps