The RailHawks won’t be playing in the postseason.
The RailHawks needed to win Saturday and get some help to capture the last spot in the North American Soccer League’s four-team playoff system.
Though Fort Lauderdale tied with visiting Ottawa 1-all, Carolina also tied visiting Minnesota United 2-2. The RailHawks needed to win by four goals if Fort Lauderdale tied.
“We came into the game, we knew we were two points down. It was the only thing we could control,” Tiyi Shipalane said.
Shipalane also said he and the team did not know the Fort Lauderdale score.
Also left in the dark: the crowd of 6,460 at WakeMed Soccer Park. They were without light for about 30 minutes at the start of the second half. High winds may have caused the brief power outage, which added intrigue to the final day push for the playoffs.
Fort Lauderdale had started its match about 20 minutes after Carolina’s, so the delay helped the RailHawks fans know exactly what they needed to make it into the postseason.
The RailHawks (11-11-5) had the only first-half goal on a score by Nacho Novo on an assist from Shipalane. Minnesota’s Christian Ramirez netted a 52nd-minute goal to equalize.
The RailHawks’ final goal of 2014 came in the 74th minute on Kupono Low’s throw to Alex Martinez, who crossed to Nazmi Albadawi.
However, the playoff hopes were dashed on an 86th minute own goal by Connor Tobin.
The team is optimistic about the future.
President Curt Johnson said after the game that he hopes to reach a contract extension with coach Colin Clarke, who has been with the team three seasons.
Johnson also said that with Traffic Sports USA’s sale of the Strikers a month ago, and now only owning the RailHawks in the NASL, there could be more resources put into the organization next year – including adding player depth.
The NASL’s top three teams – Minnesota, San Antonio and the New York Cosmos – reportedly also have the top three payrolls.