A goal from midfielder Ty Shipalane had given the host Carolina RailHawks a 1-0 lead over the unbeaten Tampa Bay Rowdies after 45 minutes play at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Saturday evening.
The Rowdies sought to control possession with low tempo while the RailHawks sought to unlock forwards Brian Shriver and Enzo Martinez with long passes from deep lying midfielders.
Tampa Bay midfielder Stuart Campbell almost secured the opening goal of the match with a curling effort in the 22nd minute, only to miss by inches; the opportunity would be the Rowdies’ best of the half.
The score held level until the 30th minute, when Shipalane fired a shot from the top of the box and had it ricochet off the woodwork. Shipalane was fortunate to receive the ball again after the ball deflected off of Rowdies’ player Frankie Sanfillipo, and buried his second chance to put the RailHawks ahead.
Carolina continued to press their advantage afterward, with forward Brian Shriver nearly netting his 13th goal of the season, only to be denied by the far post in the 39th minute.
“Very exciting game, both teams are trying to win,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill at halftime. “It is always great to see, but unfortunately we are 1-0 down as the balance of chances and Carolina deserves to be leading. However I can’t be displeased with our team’s performance in the first half.”
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