The Carolina RailHawks hosted Pumas UNAM of Mexico in front of a club record 8,054 fans at the New WakeMed Soccer Park. A 2-1 result favored the visiting club and left every fan wanting more of the exciting end-to-end match. A RailHawks own goal opened the scoring in the 16th minute before Juan Pablo Rodriguez would strike in the 41st minute doubling the Mexican club’s lead. The attack-minded RailHawks pulled one back when they struck in the 42nd minute on a goal from RailHawks forward Zack Schilawski.
“I thought our team played very well tonight and was our best performance of the preseason,” said RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke. “Pumas were a very good team and we knew it was going to be a tough match. Once we settled in, we were very good and created a number of chances. Playing in an atmosphere like tonight is superb and great for our young team.”
While attempting to intercept a Pumas pass 25 yards out from goal, RailHawks midfielder Floyd Franks interception turned into a high arcing deflection that found the upper left corner of the RailHawks net, leaving RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald with no opportunity of a save. Fitzgerald would go on to make 5 saves on the night. The visitor’s from Mexico would go up two goals on Rodriguez’s 41st minute strike from the corner of the 6 yard box. Pumas’ Alfonso Nieto found space at the top of the RailHawks box and played a well timed pass to Rodriguez, who left little chance for Fitzgerald to come up with another miraculous save.
The RailHawks would strike back quickly in the 42nd minute when Schilawski and strike partner Brian Shriver beat the Pumas defense with a quick passing sequence that left Schilawski one-on-one with the Pumas goalkeeper. Schilawski’s deft touch cut the Pumas lead to one going into halftime. Both teams continued to push the tempo in search of the next critical goal, entertaining the packed house at WakeMed Soccer Park along the way.
The RailHawks will open North American Soccer League play on the road in Tampa Bay on April 6th before returning to North Carolina on April 13th for the Grand Opening of the New WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets for the April 13th match against Canadian foe, FC Edmonton, are on-sale now at the St. Lawrence Homes Box Office and can be purchased by calling (919) 459-8144 or by visiting www.CarolinaRailHawks.com.
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