On a five-game winless streak despite recent competition against the bottom feeders in the North American Soccer League, the Carolina RailHawks bounced back and earned their first win in over month, defeating the first-place Indy Eleven 3-2.
“At halftime we said ‘Lets go and make this happen. Let’s do whatever we can do to get three points,’” RailHawks coach Colin Clarke said. “They went out and got it done. It showed a lot of heart to keep going and keep believing.”
In stoppage time, Omar Bravo scored the second of two unanswered RailHawks goals to give Carolina its first lead of the night.
“Omar is coming in and scoring goals and brings so much to the table and as a person,” Clarke said. “He wants to win and he wants to win trophies.
“Past month or two, things haven’t quite gone our way … but I thought what we deserved tonight. I thought we were the better team over 90 minutes.”
Indianapolis scored first as Greg Janicki headed a corner home in the 20th minute, but it didn’t take long for the RailHawks’ recently dormant offense to come to life as Matt Fondy knocked a Nazmi Albadawi pass into the bottom left corner three minutes later.
In the 30th minute, the Indy Eleven doubled its lead on a Eamon Zayed penalty kick despite the RailHawks dominating possession up to that point in the match.
Carolina made the 55th minute “Miller Time” as right back Steven Miller scored his first-ever NASL goal, equalizing the scoreline.
“The ball was on the opposite side of the field and I’m told to get high … and da Luz played a phenomenal cross,” Miller said. “I tried to put it in a dangerous spot, I won’t say if it was a cross or shot,” he chuckled.
The game ran stagnant after that point, but a handball in the box gave the RailHawks their penalty kick opportunity.
The result was a reversal of the NASL Spring Season finale, in which the Eleven thrashed the RailHawks 4-1 to clinch a spot in the postseason.
“The crowd like that pushed us to victory, what (the Indy Eleven) did to us in the last game of the season,” Miller said. “We wanted to know where we are in the league and that we’re not that far off.”