After giving up six unanswered goals despite striking first in New York last week, the Carolina RailHawks’ defense stayed tight all match, escaping Saturday night’s game with a 1-0 victory against the visiting Jacksonville Armada.
After what was a mostly uneventful first half, Tiyi Shipalane put the RailHawks on board with a perfectly placed chip over Armada keeper Sean Lewis in the 44th minute.
“I was able to run between the two center backs and I saw the goalkeeper was way out of line and I didn’t want to complicate myself and I just picked my spot and measured it right and it went it,” Shipalane said.
All three of Shipalane’s goals this year have been chipped balls.
“It’s been working for me this year, to be honest,” he said. “All three.”
Nazmi Albadawi jumpstarted the attack with a ball played from just shy of midfield, giving himself his ninth assist of the year. Albadawi is three assists above the next highest players, New York’s Andres Flores and Minnesota’s Kevin Venegas, on the North American Soccer League leaderboard.
Despite strong counter attacking play from the Armada in the second half, nifty last-second tackles saved RailHawks goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre from facing any dangerous shots in the second half.
One tackle in particular, Steven Miller’s sliding effort to disrupt a 2-on-1 attack in the 79th minute, secured the win for Carolina.
THEY SAID IT
“We sat down and said ‘OK, we have 12 games left, that’s our season right now. Let’s start a brand new season, a 12-game season, and all we can do is make sure we’re at the top of that table,’” coach Colin Clarke said. “First game of the season was tonight and we won, we got three points.”
BY THE NUMBERS
2: This is just the second win for the RailHawks in their previous eight matches.
4,156: Attendance at WakeMed Soccer Park.
18.1: Percentage advantage that the RailHawks had passing in the attacking half (75.9 to 57.8).
483: Passes completed for the RailHawks, compared to only 348 last weekend in New York.