After steamrolling two teams near the top of the NASL standings in a week, the Ottawa Fury’s run of form wouldn’t relent at the conclusion of their road trip, thrashing the struggling Carolina RailHawks 3-1 Saturday night.
With the loss, the RailHawks have only one win since July 18th, and have likely fallen out of playoff contention with their record dwindling to 6-11-8.
“I’m enjoying this challenge, it’s going to make me better as a coach and person,” RailHawks coach Colin Clarke said. “We’ve got to embrace it.”
On the other side, the Ottawa Fury overtook the New York Cosmos at first place in the combined standings despite finishing ninth in spring table.
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The Fury notched all three of their goals in the first half, with former RailHawk Tom Heinemann notching each of the first two.
Heinemann opened his scoring account in the 19th minute, weaving through three members of the RailHawks’ back line to finesse a ball past Akira Fitzgerald.
It didn’t take much longer for Heinemann to earn the brace, taking advantage of a RailHawk turnover before launching a rocket from just outside the 18-yard box to double the Ottawa lead to 2-0.
“Our problem is mental, when we give up one (goal) we get frightened,” said a visibly flustered Clarke. “We need to show more character.”
The Fury kept coming in first half stoppage time, as Paulo Junior lit up the highlight reel, carving through the entire Carolina defense before powering his shot into the upper 90.
The RailHawks got a break in the 52nd minute as Nacho Novo earned and scored a penalty kick.
When Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser refused to give the ball up to Novo ensuing the goal, referee Danny Fitzgerald showed Novo a yellow card for his reaction, a booking that would prove costly.
In the final minute of stoppage time, the RailHawks fortunes continued to spiral, as Novo earned his second yellow card, this time for ‘diving’ just outside the 18-yard box.
“The referee was not in control of the game,” Clarke said. “With 15 seconds to play at the end of the game, use common sense and ref the game … blow the whistle for full time.”
Junior’s goal at the end of the first half gave the Fury a lead that proved too far to be equalized.
They said it
“This is a place I respect tremendously, any team I coach here, I know it’s going to be hard,” dos Santos said. “It’s a lot of work to win here, a lot of respect to Colin Clarke.”
Three who mattered
Tom Heinemann, Ottawa: Heinemann’s first half dominance put the game away for the Fury.
Romuald Peiser, Ottawa: Peiser’s demeanor in net was able to throw off the RailHawks’ mental game.
Nacho Novo, Carolina: His goal gave the home supporters something to cheer about, but his looming suspension has given them reason to dread their upcoming fixture.
The win was Marc dos Santos’ first at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The Ottawa Fury earned their sixth consecutive road win, setting a NASL record.
Since making his debut on Aug. 22nd, UNC graduate Tyler Engel has appeared in six of the past seven matches for the RailHawks.