The 2011 NASL Regular Season Champion Carolina RailHawks host the 2011 NASL runners-up Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Wake Med Soccer Park Saturday. The quarterfinals are a single elimination game while the semifinals and NASL Championship Series will each be a 2-game series with each team playing at home once and the team with the greater number of aggregate goals in both games winning each series. If this game is tied after 90 minutes, the teams will progress to a 30-minute extra time period (the golden goal rule will not be in effect). If the teams are still locked in a draw following the extra time period, the winner will be determined by a penalty shootout.
In four regular season meetings between the sides this season, the RailHawks failed to defeat the Strikers, drawing two at home, and losing two on the road. The RailHawks came closest to winning in the first meeting of the season, a 3-3 draw at WakeMed Soccer Park on May 2, in which the Strikers come from two goals behind to draw. In the next match, Mark Anderson scored a brace to give the Strikers a 2-1 win in the first meeting at Lockhart.
The teams played to another 3-3 draw in the second meeting at WakeMed on July 7, though that time it was the hosts who completed a late comeback. Mike Palacio opened the scoring for Carolina inside the first quarter hour, but Abe Thompson, Darnell King, and Walter Restrepo combined to give Fort Lauderdale a 3-1 lead. Palacio finished his second goal of the game with just minutes remaining before setting up Ty Shipalane for a stoppage-time equalizer.
The fourth and final meeting ended 1-0 in favor of Fort Lauderdale, the lone goal coming from Andy Herron, ensuring the Strikers an unbeaten season series against Carolina.
Carolina RailHawks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Saturday, September 29, 2012— 7:00 P.M. EDT
WakeMed Soccer Park
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Fort Lauderdale, 2-2-0, 8 points
2011 Series: Tied, 2-0-2, 6 points
Carolina Fort Lauderdale
Head Coach Colin Clarke Daryl Shore
2012 Records 4th: 9-8-8, 35 points 5th: 9-9-10, 36 points
Last Five Games L T W T T W L T L T
Goals Leader Nick Zimmerman (15) Mark Anderson (11)
Assists Leader Mike Palacio (6) Walter Restrepo (8)
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