Midfielder Cesar Elizondo and forward Ty Shipalane scored three of the Carolina RailHawks’ four goals this week between them, including the game-winner at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round against CD Chivas USA and the equalizer in Week 11 versus FC Edmonton. Their performances have earned them a share of the North American Soccer League Player of the Week honors.
Both have also struck five of the last six RailHawks goals with Costa Rican Elizondo notching three, with one assist, while South African Shipalane has two goals, along with two assists.
“Tiyi and Cesar have had a great past nine days and shown up big time in key moments for the team,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “They are very deserving of the recognition. Hopefully they can continue their run of form over the next two weeks as well, to finish of the NASL Spring Season and U.S. Open Cup quarter final round.”
Elizondo was the hero for Carolina for the second time in the space of five days as his goal rescued a point in a 1-1 draw against host FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium. After trailing since the 73rd, minute the RailHawks persevered and struck late as Shipalane found Elizondo in space just a few yards from goal for the equalizer.
Earlier last week, Elizondo scored the game-winner off an assist from Shipalane two minutes into the first extra time period to help the RailHawks to a 3-1 victory over visiting CD Chivas USA of MLS in the U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round at WakeMed Soccer Park.
“It was a great ball from Jonathan and I think it was similar to the first goal where [the defense] was stretched out a little bit and I was able to slip in behind them,” said Shipalane of Elizondo’s goal against Chivas USA. “I took cut, got my head up and saw Cesar making a run on top of the box. I was able to cut it back to him, and he did a great job finishing it.”
Shipalane had opened the scoring in the 13th minute, while teammate Brian Ackley added an insurance goal also in extra time for the RailHawks, who become the first NASL team to reach the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals.
“I’ve been with the team since training camp, so it feels great to see more minutes,” said Elizondo. “I am just glad that coach trust me during those minutes and I was able to step up during that time. We have a talented group of guys on the squad that can contribute when called upon.”
Prior to coming to the RailHwaks, Elizondo has played in his native Costa Rica with Municipal Pérez Zeledón and Deportivo Saprissa, where they won four league titles. Elizondo, who has 10 international appearances with the Costa Rican national team, also competed with the Ticos at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
Born in Tzaneen, South Africa, Shipalane moved to the U.S. in 2005 and had stints with four teams - D.C. United, Harrisburg City Islanders, Michigan Bucks and Richmond Kickers - before coming to play for Carolina in 2010. He spent 2011 with South Africa’s University of Pretoria FC before returning to the RailHawks last year.
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