Trying to move closer to the top of the NASL standings, the Carolina RailHawks settled for a 1-1 draw at home Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at WakeMed Soccer Park.
With the result, Carolina (5-4-7, W-L-T) earned its 22nd point of the season, and the RailHawks currently hold fifth place in the league standings.
Trailing 1-0 after a Tampa Bay goal in the 29th minute, Carolina responded with a goal by midfielder Mark Anderson just three minutes later.
However, neither team found the back of the net afterward as both sides struggled to find their groove on the offensive front.
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With Tampa Bay searching to regain the lead in the 78th minute, RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald made a huge save to prevent Rowdies midfielder Darnell King from scoring on a breakaway.
They said it
RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke on the result: “I don’t think we deserved to be beaten, so I think it was a fair result.”
Three who mattered
Anderson, Carolina: Finding himself in the right place at the right time, Anderson put Carolina on the board with his third goal of the season as his shot from the center of the penalty box found the back of the net.
“I just tried to put myself in a position and it bounced up, and I got in front of the defender and spun on it,” Anderson said.
Georgi Hristov, Tampa Bay: The beneficiary of an excellent cross from King, Hristov opened up the scoring with a one-timer from point-blank range.
Fitzgerald, Carolina: Despite surrendering a first half goal, Fitzgerald kept the RailHawks in the game and preserved the draw thanks to his save on King.
Saturday’s match was RailHawks defender Wes Knight’s last professionally.
Knight is retiring from soccer and will begin his coaching career with the Carolina Rapids, a youth development program affiliated with the Colorado Rapids of the MLS.
Newly signed Rowdie and former teenage prodigy Freddy Adu did not make the trip to Cary because of a lower leg injury.
Carolina midfielder Wells Thompson was suspended on Saturday because of the two yellow cards he received last Sunday in the RailHawks 2-1 loss in Ottawa.