Monday, July 4, 2011

Carolina Wins Again, 10 Straight

Fireworks in Cary as the Railhawks win again.
Rob Kinnan Photography
The Montreal Impact made the trip down to Cary to take on the Carolina Railhawks. The Railhawks were coming off a 5-1 shellacking of Atlanta while the Impact were coming off a 0-0 draw with Puerto Rico. The game promised fireworks, both because of the two teams and of course for the 4th of July holiday show afterwards.

The Carolina Railhawks have been on a league tear, dominating the NASL  with 9 straight wins going into their match with Montreal. Coming into the match Carolina averaged 2.39 goals a game and have not been shutout at all in 2011. Combine that with the team’s 0.85 goals against going into the match and you’ve got a powerful force to contend with.

The Montreal Impact however went 325 minutes without scoring a goal before the game started. Pretty remarkable differences in terms of streaks coming into the game.

In the 30th minute Chris Nurse found Pablo Compos with a cheeky chip through the defense. Compos then slipped the ball past Impact keeper Evan Bush. The crowd of 4,690 erupted and were treated to a blast of holiday fireworks.

Three minutes later Nick Zimmerman finished a great ball from Jonny Steel who launched a pass from the defending half. Zimmerman headed it passed the goalie and finished the goal with his foot.

It was nice to see the former MLS player find his form. He’s scored 3 goals in 2 games, “I feel good. Credit to the team though. It was an absolutely incredible ball by Jonny Steele. All around, a great effort from every single player on the field.”

Rob Kinnan Photography

Flloyd Franks was impressive on the night consistently harassing the opposing players. His work rate was nearly unmatched throughout the night. In the 55th minute Etienne Barbara, the Railhawks offensive hammer, was in on goal by himself only to be denied by Evan Bush with a sprawling save.

Brian Farber made his way into the game for an injured Jonny Steele early in the second half. It was good to see Farber get on the field after battling injuries this season. He immediately made his presence known with a hard tackle to start his match tenure. He showed no signs of being hurt as he went in to tackles hard and tracked back on defense. Matt Watson also worked very hard on both sides of the ball, making himself a value to the team throughout the game.

Barbara still powerful, but no goals or assists.
Rob Kinnan Photography
Carolina was lead by Brad Knighton in the back, who recorded another shutout in a Railhawks jersey. “Clean sheet after clean sheet, everybodys confidence builds in the back.” Knighton reflected on the Railhawks recent run of success and their dominance over the league. “You dream of season’s like this. There’s not many teams around the world at a professional level that are going to win 10 games straight. One of our goals is to win every time we step on the field. We believe we can take three points from every game and we’re going to be the better team. That’s been the case so far, and it’s been a great journey.”

The Railhawks looked a tad sluggish in the second half and Montreal took notice. They pressed the issue put the Railhawks on their heels. No shots on goal registered for Carolina in the second half.

With the win, the Railhawks improved to 10 wins in a row and 13 games unbeaten. The streak is impressive for any professional sport and the Railhawks are taking great pride in it. “It’s exciting for us to get our 10th win in a row,” said Carolina coach Martin Rennie. “That’s a really big thing. It’s something I’ve never done in professional soccer. It’s a big achievement. These guys have worked so hard for it and they deserve it.

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