Sitting level on points at the top of the NASL table, the Carolina RailHawks would look to finish their brief homestand with the maximum 6 points and with 3 wins in their last 4 games. While the team’s run of form has been phenomenal, it was striker Etienne Barbara who has quickly become the toast of the league. With a double in his last match, Barbara’s goal streak was extend to 6 in 5 games.
It was the Strikers who would find the back of the net first in the match through a sensational hit from Patrick Otte in the 8th minute. The midfielder got parallel to the ground and his scissor kick on the half-volley easily made its way past Brad Knighton. Yet, the RailHawks’ fighting spirit brought them right back into the game on 17 minutes through a Pablo Campos header assisted by who else but Etienne Barbara. From there on in, it was all Carolina as they drew a penalty that Barbara easily slotted home for his 7th goal in 6 matches. A goal and an assist for him as it seems to be just another day at the office for the Maltese striker.
Pablo Campos appeared to put the game just out of the reach of the Strikers with his 60th minute header right off the corner to make it 3-1. Fort Lauderdale would make the finish nervy to say the least as David Santamaria scored his first goal following a long through-ball that caught the Carolina defense out in second half stoppage time. Carolina would once again reply quickly to finally end the match as four men in orange found themselves behind the over-committed Strikers squad who were pushing for the equalizer. Four men in orange against one Fort Lauderdale defender and the goalkeeper, Platter, made it all too easy for Allan Russell to find the fourth goal to end the match and send the RailHawks clear at the top of the table.
The RailHawks travel to Montreal Saturday, while Fort Lauderdale hosts FC Tampa Bay.
FTL: GK Nick Platter, D Lance Laing, D Scott Gordon, D Aaron Hohlbein, D Martyn Lancaster, M Toni Stahl, M Bryan Arguez, M Brian Shriver (David Santamaria, 64th), F Yoximar Granado, F Patrick Otte, F Jean-Phillippe Peguero
CAR: GK Brad Knighton, D Brad Rusin, D Kupono Low, D Devon McKenney, D John Krause, M Floyd Franks, M Matt Watson (Chris Nurse, 63rd), M Jonny Steele, F Etienne Barbara (Brian Farber, 77th), F Pablo Campos (Allan Russell, 86th), F Nick Zimmerman
FTL: Patricke Otte (Brian Shriver) 8th, David Santamaria 90+
CAR: Pablo Campos (Etienne Barbara) 17th, Etienne Barbara (PK) 26th, Pablo Campos (Floyd Franks, 60th), Allan Russell (Floyd Franks) 90+
FTL: Scott Gordon 32nd, Jean-Phillippe Peguero 51st, Bryan Arguez 58th
CAR: Devon McKenney 13th