After a thrashing of the Charlotte Independence Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup, it seemed the Carolina RailHawks’ offensive woes had come to the end. Instead, the RailHawks relinquished a chance at winning the spring season title in a 0-0 home draw with the Jacksonville Armada.
After the New York Cosmos dropped a 2-1 decision in their season finale in Fort Lauderdale and Minnesota FC fell to Rayo OKC, Carolina had a chance to control its own destiny and clinch an automatic playoff bid with wins Saturday and next week in Indianapolis.
“We showed a lack of composure in front of goal,” Carolina coach Colin Clarke said. “It’s been a frustrating time. … We’ve created plenty of chances but it’s important we don’t start to feel sorry for ourselves.”
After an 83-minute stoppage because of lightning, the RailHawks slogged through the first 45 minutes without a shot in the back of the net, the sixth match in a row that’s occurred.
In the second half, the RailHawks amped up the pressure with nine more shots, but none were able to find the back of the net as Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo only needed to make two saves the entire night.
Gallardo made a diving save in the closing minutes of the game after Jonathon Orlando threaded a grounded cross to Austin da Luz that secured the point for each team.
“Entertaining game for nil-nil, chances at both ends for teams that wanted to attack,” Jacksonville coach Tony Meola said. “It was two teams who wanted to play the game right.”
The RailHawks haven’t won a league game since April 23 and a league game at home since April 16.
They said it
“Utterly disappointed that we didn’t get the result,” Clarke said. “I thought we played well and created chances … but failed to make their keeper make saves.”
After needing 22 shots before finding the back of the net against Charlotte, Carolina struggled again, only getting 28.6 percent of its shots on frame Saturday night.
By the numbers
3: Times the RailHawks have played the last-place NASL team at home and not been able to salvage a win (two draws, one loss).
58: Minutes for Orlando over the past three games, who had 17 minutes against the Armada.
62: Shots the RailHawks have taken in regulation over the past four games without a goal (scored five in overtime against Charlotte).