The Carolina RailHawks open up the new and improved Wake Med Soccer Park against visiting FC Edmonton on April 13, 2013. The RailHawks will look to win their first home opener in years, and continue a pattern of dominance at home against the Eddies.
Carolina has never lost, or drawn against FC Edmonton at home. In two seasons, the RailHawks have won all four home matches against the Canadian side. Under Martin Rennie in 2011, the Regular Season Champions won the home matches by scores of 2-0 and 4-1. Current coach Colin Clarke continued the streak with 2-0 and 3-2 victories over the Eddies in 2012.
The 3-2 victory on August 18, 2012 sticks in the minds of most familiar with the series. In that match, the electric Ty Shipalane produced one of the best individual goals of the season, dribbling through several defenders in the Edmonton defense before slotting the ball into the net for a dramatic come-from-behind stoppage-time victory.
All-time, Carolina is 5-2-1 against Edmonton. The only loss came in the first match between the two sides last season, a 3-0 defeat at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton on May 6th. At that point of the season, the RailHawks were stuck near the bottom of the standings, without a win.
In fact, last season it took the RailHawks two months and ten regular season matches before the club got a win, a 2-1 win against Puerto Rico Islanders in their fifth home match of the season on June 6.
With the new split-season format, the RailHawks can’t afford to get off to a slow start like last season. But history may not be entirely on their side.
The RailHawks have failed to win a home opener in two NASL seasons. The last time the team opened the season with a win at home was against A.C. St. Louis on April 10, 2010.
Either the winning streak against FC Edmonton, or the winless home opener streak will end for the RailHawks in this season’s home opener.
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