13 November 2008

Railhawks announce new head coach

Railhawks announce Martin Rennie as head coach

The Carolina Railhawks announced Scotsman Martin Rennie as the team’s new head coach. Rennie comes to the Railhawks from the Cleveland City Stars of the USL’s Second Division. At Cleveland, Rennie compiled an impressive record, taking the Stars to the USL-2 semi-finals in his first year and winning the league in his second year. This is clearly a coach who knows how to develop and implement functional tactical systems. Rennie is also noted for his ability to maximize player potential. A high percentage of his acolytes went directly into the MLS or foreign professional leagues following their stint in Cleveland.

Rennie comes to Cary with Europe’s highest coaching qualification: the UEFA “A” license. This is an unusual accomplishment for someone who has yet to begin plucking grey hairs before press conferences. Rennie also carries the UEFA youth license, which will be a huge asset in identifying and developing local talent to bring through the Railhawks’ fledgling development system. He has significant connections with professional teams in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean and suggested that he will immediately look to add to the international character of the Railhawks’ squad.

During today’s well-attended press conference, Railhawks owner and president Brian Wellman identified the synergy between the Railhawks organization and Rennie saying “we are here to deepen our roots in the community, promote a family-friendly soccer environment, and put a championship team on the field. Martin will bring us consistency, a winning attitude, and a proven track record of success.” Wellman was also very clear that the Railhawks are not content to just compete in USL-1 but will continue to bring in top Mexican and MLS teams, and will target the new CONCACAF Champions League which would bring meaningful (and lucrative) international competition to WakeMed Soccer park.

Among the key changes that fans can look for will be a new attitude on the training ground. Rennie gave every indication that he expects players to work within his tactical system and to be committed to team play. The individual midfield peregrinations of Nuñes, Watson, and Fusilier may be a thing of the past. “Winning is not enough,” Rennie said, “we want to win with style and we want to win as a team.”

Fans can expect Rennie’s Railhawks to play a fast tempo game that is possession orientated (vs. lumping the ball forward), that builds from the back, and that works collectively to defend (vs. waiting for Chris McClellan to work miracles in goal). Perhaps the most encouraging statement of the afternoon was when Rennie said, “Winning is nice, but it is much sweeter when you can share the joy with the community.” While the Railhawks represent a bigger stage on which to display his coaching acumen, Rennie seems to understand that he is part of a much larger endeavor.

The Railhawks have a hugely talented group of players to draw from and Rennie will have much work to do in the coming months as he restructures what has been a disfunctional team culture. The Railhawks will host open tryouts on December 13th and 14th and hope to capture some local talent who are knocking around in the many Latino leagues in the Triangle. Though the 2009 season seems impossibly far away, it began in earnest today. The Railhawks have made a hugely positive step in hiring Martin Rennie: bienvenidos al triangulo, laddie.

18 September 2008

Rilhawks weekend preview

Railhawks v. Battery Preview

In a final flurry of very ruffled feathers, the Cary-based Carolina Railhawks flap into a doubleheader against the Charelston Battery and Portland Timbers in USL-1’s final weekend. The stakes are high, as anything less than six points will snare no better than an 8th place finish for the sophomore ‘Hawks. In addition to winning two in two, they only make the playoffs if Atlanta and Minnesota choke.

On the bright side, if they do manage this Sisyphean task, they will be in the playoffs, which is of uncertain benefit other than fashioning a mantle of Cinderella to be lugged about. On the confusing side, why are there only seven teams in the playoffs? The Hawks finished 8th last year and made it in before being beaten soundly by Seattle.

It has been a rough year for the Railhawks who have struggled to find consistency, though they have been playing much better of late. The additions of players from Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Uruguay and Chile have begun to gel with those from Raleigh, California, Colorado, England, and Cote d’Iviore (to name a few), scoring 21 goals in their last nine games. There is a core of young talent spiced with some graybeards in their early 30s, which bodes well for the future. This season will look better in the Annals of American Soccer.

Before the avoidable 1-1 draw with Rochester last weekend, Scott Schweitzer pleaded for patience from the fans, and possibly the management. It was a pretty convincing plea, until with a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute, an attacker was pulled off for a defender and in the 82nd minute it was 1-1. Even the staunchly supportive commentating crew were aghast at the decision which left the ‘Hawks scratching out a point when three were beak-bound.

Regardless of their chances of getting to the playoffs, I always recommend that people go to see the Railhawks play. They feature a great mix of international and home grown soccer talent in a comfortable, public transportation-free place to watch it. Almost like home, with all the niggling beauty of reality. You might also want to see proof of the old Wall Street adage: even if you don’t make it, they will come.

07 September 2008

Carolina Railhawks v. Charleston Battery

USL-1 Regular Season Match

Wake Med Soccer Park

Cary, NC

September 6, 2008

Wake Med Soccer Park is one of the finest venues in the United States to watch soccer, if you have a car. The total absence of public transportation to the stadium would be more noticeable if anyone seemed to mind.

A light crowd came out to see the last place ‘Hawks roll the dice in their bid to reach the post-season. They were facing a Charleston Battery team that had looked very impressive in a 2-1 loss to D.C. United in the final of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. Almost everything went well for the home side as they notched three goals for the third time in five games.As Charleston sat back and hoped to spring on the counter, Carolina dominated early possession, attacking with fluidity through Ronald Cerritos in the center of midfield. When they were able to get the ball to the flanks, Nuñez took on defenders with his usual aplomb, creating trouble in the Battery backfield.

As the ‘Hawks opened some space they were reluctant to play early balls over the top, and after several abortive attempts Cerritos finally hit a one time ball through to Diallo who was bundled over in the box in the 25th minute. The ref did not hesitate in pointing to the spot, and Kupono Low stepped up to slot a wonderful penalty past the outstretched arms of Huddock.Inexplicably, Carolina did not press their advantage in possession but resorted to lobbing balls into the 6’4” Antoniuk, who paid dearly for his yeoman efforts in a nasty aerial collision with the 6’4” Nylen. An all too typical clash of monsters in the USL. It wasn’t long after that Cerritos, who should simply know better at his age, went flying into a 50-50 ball, smashing heads with a Battery defender and crumpled in a heap on the grass. The ref called for a stretcher, but all that could be found at WakeMed was a roller chair. One wonders if the trainers ask the players for their insurance cards. Unfortunately, Cerritos could not continue after the half-hour mark.

In the 37th, Charleston finally came to life and demonstrated some of the flowing soccer that put them in the Open Cup final. Five deft touches through midfield released Richardson on the left wing and his cross put Carolina’s back line to the test. Soon after, another midfield combination released Jamie Holmes on the right wing and his angled slot slid perilously close but Carolina escaped the danger.After a period of listlessness, Carolina responded through another series of passes in which play switched from left to right. Nunez released Diallo on the left, who played centrally to Waston, who slotted to the overlapping Curfman. His cross was directed into the net by Alewari in the 43rd minute. Charleston nearly pulled one back in injury time, but McClellan ended the half without having to make a save.

The half time entertainment featured the Railhawk Dancers performing a mock gang war, ironic given the recent escalation of gang violence in both Raleigh and Durham that seems a world, and not miles, away from Cary. There were also racing dogs and kids playing small sided games, in case anyone keeps track of these things.

Nothing much was generated by either side in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. Diallo continued to look slippery and dangerous running at the defense but it was Antoniuk who deserved the third goal of the night. Receiving a bouncing ball with his back to goal, he flicked over his defender and took the falling ball at full volley, sending it screaming to the top left corner. Hudock was equal to the task, flying across the goal to tip just over. This alone was worth the price of admission: two moments of athletic genius within one second.

The Battery are a good side, and they continued to look for combinations through midfield to prize open the heretofore stingy defense. A neat one-two in the attacking third allowed Spicer a chance to outmuscle Stokes and power underneath McClellan, who will wish he had another chance.

In the 74th minute, Diallo was taken off and Carolina looked to lock down their 2-1 advantage. They managed to give much of the initiative to Charleston who could not make too much of ten minutes of sustained pressure. As Carolina began to go backwards as much as forwards, this commentator was anticipating the worst, until a long sequence of passes ended with Curfman finding Watson on the right wing. Watson neatly turned his defender, dribbled to the line and cut back for the surging Cuban, Rey Martinez, who scored on his home debut. 3-1, and three points for Carolina.

This was one of the better displays of the season for the Railhawks who looked intent and confident. They continued their mastery of Charleston, running their all-time record to 5-0 against their Southern Derby opponents.
With three games to play, Carolina will need to put together even better performances if they are to defy the odds-makers who last week put their chances at a playoff spot at 5%. Nonetheless, they played well, scored some goals and will keep those that were there coming back for more.

09 August 2008

Railhawks lose again, come to screeching halt in cellar

Montreal Impact v. Carolina Railhawks

USL-1

8 August 2008

Cary, NC

Wake Med Soccer Park


Do RailHawks bounce when they hit the ground?

The numbers are not pretty, but do tell the story. In the last 6 games, the Railhawks have scored two goals, suffering five shutouts. They have scored just 19 goals in 22 games, conceding 31. They have not won since June 27, and since then have taken 3 out of a possible 27 points. The strains of Ozzy Ozborne’s “Crazy Train” that play as the team is introduced should be replaced with Tom Petty’s “Freefalling”. It might soften the blow for the crowd.

At the end of another anemic performance marked by mental lapses, bitching at the ref, another churlish red card for Stokes (3rd in 10 games), and a gear grinding attack, the disgust was about as palpable as it is likely to get in Cary. A dozens fans took their souvenir Frisbees and heaved them onto the pitch, a strong statement in staid suburbia.

This was the first choice team for coach Schweitzer and on paper one that looks the business. But after an opening five minutes of nice possession and good movement, the wheels fell off as Montreal countered, breaking the trap. Segovia lost precious ground as he remonstrated with the linesman. Jefferson took full advantage, turning the Chilean in the box and slotting past McClellan into the far corner. That really made an Impact. Having NEVER won after going a goal down, the only remaining work was to chart the positives and negatives of the players in terms of possession and influence.

Player

Positive

Negative

McClellan

3

2

SanFilippo

3

9 hideous going forward

Segovia

2

2 ball and fwd, not ref!

Stokes

2

3 another red card!

Worthen

2

0 pulled hammy, really odd luck there

Fusilier

0

5 subbed at ½ time

Low

7

3 solid in DCMF role

Watson

4

7 lost on right wing, more comfortable in middle

Nunez

5

4 no service in 2nd ½

Cerritos

3

5 static

Antoniuk

2

1 lack of service, hard work

Diallo

1

1 sparked attack briefly

Norkus

Curfman

1

5 not a left back, easily gave away poss.

Late sub, some nice touches

2

It’s hard to know what to say about a team with no clear direction. For now, the only way to go is up, but that seems increasingly unlikely given the force of the impact of their crash into the cellar. Next up: Miami FC and the return of Connaly Edozien. Has enough time passed to call him prodigal? No matter, he’ll likely score a brace.

03 August 2008

Vancouver Whitecaps v. Carolina Railhawks

Vancouver Whitecaps v. Carolina Railhawks
USL-1
1 August 2008
Cary, NC
Wake Med Soccer Park
Partly cloudy, balmy, perfect field conditions
TV: Fox Soccer Channel

It was a big week for Carolina in the front office. Gone was Connoley Edozien, last year’s leading scorer and stylish poster child. In comes fading El Salvadorian star Ronald Cerritos and rising Mexican estrella Eddie Gutierrez (click for more details). National television cameras were rolling, skies were clear, a much needed three points for the 9th place Railhawks , lovely night for optimism and football.

After the most soulful rendition of “O Canada” this commentator has ever heard, it took less than one minute for Vancouver to score. Carolina kicked off, passed backwards (as is their wont), Low lost possession at left back, and gave up a foul deep into the right attacking third. Vancouver threw five players into the box (five of them 6’1” or bigger, with two verifiable monstros at 6’5” 220+ pounds), the ball bounced around, got rammed back across the front of goal, one nil, Bob’s your uncle. Carolina had the pleasure of being the first team in USL-1 to kick off twice within 75 seconds this year.

Nine minutes later, the groans were even more audible from the directors box. After right wing Fusilier rashly fouled in the depth of the ‘Caps’ tidal surge, McClellan bobbled the threatening cross, no ‘Hawks could move with so many huge standing waves around, 2-0. Bob’s your uncle and your father.

Things weren’t too bad for Carolina after that. Though they continued with their nasty habit of wasting free kicks and corners and their forwards have lost the confidence to take people on with the meager service they get, they looked pretty good for long stretches. Vancouver never really got much going, depending on the physicality of their forwards and pace of their defenders to generate and close openings. Santiago Fusilier gave some real delight to the home fans with an 18th minute strike from outside the area. A thing of beauty, artfully lobbed over the ‘keeper, dipping just below the bar, diving into goal over the head of an outstretched Whitecap. Lovely stuff and well deserved. Hope sprung. It was mortally wounded in the 35th minute.

For the third time in two home games, the ‘Hawks gifted a goal that left McClellan with no chance. Low’s one time pass to retreating center midfielder Solle (who had a disaster) was intercepted, Segovia was exposed holding a high Chilean line, and Eduardo Sebrango didn’t need his tiocubano to help him make it 3-1. The sound of air leaving a roof-less stadium is very odd indeed.

Though all was lost, the referee soon completed his rightful duty as an entertainment manager and expelled Vancouver’s incredibly pacy right back Takashi Hirano in the 43rd minute for a blistering two footed tackle on Dombrowski. Carolina made no use of the ensuing freekick or man advantage until the 83rd minute.

After Zuzga, Lemons, Curfman, Worthen and Antoniuk had been thrown into the mix for Norkus, Diallo, Fusilier, Dombrowski, ,and Solle, Nuñez pulled back a deserved goal for Carolina. As the game inexorably moved to its end, Vancouver held on to their three points like barnacles to a boat. Carolina screwed away several chances, hit the post, were denied by good saves, and their own lack of je ne sais qua.

They may be under some kind of curse. This is the thirteenth winless game on the trot. They have never once won after being a goal down and have only scored 3 goals in their last 5 games. Why then does the game get handed to the opposition within 60 seconds? Is there no idea of what to do at the very beginning of the game, much less adjust to it as it gets increasingly complicated? One wonders how this is going to translate to the new signings. Bienvenidos amigos, nececitamos ayuda. No le pasan la pelota al otro equipo, por favor.

19 July 2008

Railhawks match report, 7/18/08

July 18, 2008

USL -1

Wake Med Soccer Park

Cary, North Carolina (National Geographic Article, very telling)

Carolina Railhawks 0 v. Puerto Rico Islanders 2

As usual, it rained just before the game, “killing the walk up”. Game time rain means many thousands of lost dollars to team management. Playing simply and intelligently in the back should mean more to the coaching staff. Both Puerto Rico goals were gifts: Carolina’s Solle and Stokes contrived to put Hansen through in the 16th minute through a bungled clearance. He simply couldn’t miss. Left-back Low’s seeing eye pass to attacking mid Villegas needed a touch but left McClellan no chance in the 34th and the game was effectively done and dusted. Carolina has never come back to win after being two goals down, and there was the general sentiment that one point would constitute both moral and pyrrhic victories.

The first was perhaps the worst half of soccer Carolina has played all year. If not for the enterprise and bustle of the alas rioplatense, Nuñes and Fusilier, there was little energy to be found in the Railhawks’ nest. Like a climate threatened glacier, attacks were slow to develop and quickly ended. Set pieces were pedestrian, rarely threatening, and ill-rehearsed. To be fair, on the occasions when Carolina did get the ball into the box, the referee could have gone for three penalties and certainly should have given at least one. Does he have no sense of how to build positive emotion amongst a partisan crowd? For Chris’s sake (very funny), it’s a second division game in a suburb, it’s the 70th minute of a 2-0 game, give a damn penalty to the home team to make it interesting!

The Hawks stay in 8th place in the league, while the Islanders jump up to the top of the table for the first time this year, perhaps ever. Next up for the Hawks are the Rayados de Monterrey, Mexico who will be starting their first eleven in front of a partisan, Mexican crowd. If Carolina does not solve their back line problems soon, Jared Borgetti (you tube) will be shitting bird feathers for a week.

07 April 2008

Darting away

It is difficult to talk critically about culture without poking a finger in someone’s eye. Since long before Hammurabi, we have been poking right back. From this we have no doubt come to understand the wisdom in keeping one’s singular eye on things such as the ball, the bottom line, the road, the prize, etc. With these trepidations in view, I venture into the world of darts.

As a cursory search of the internet and a modicum of casual observation will confirm that “darts began in the drinking halls of England”. The idea of drunken men slinging about shortened arrows at overturned wine barrels seems about right even now. Even the feaux cracks we see on modern dart boards are a remnant of medieval dudes throwing sharp points at an immovable object. I imagine that their spaces of sotted leisure were as given to banal expressions of masculine solidarity as ours, and that they drank the Miller Light and Budweiser (perhaps, Guinness) of their day.

I first played for Armed & Hammered in season 42 of the Bull City Dart League (hereafter, BCDL). Because it was my first season in the league and I had the highest average points per dart of the “rookies”, I was “BCDL Rookie of the Year”. I have a trophy to prove it. I also won a trophy for “high out”, meaning that my “136 out” in a singles game of 301 (where you have to count down and finish on zero by hitting a double) was the best in the league for the season. I was so excited about it that I took a picture of the darts, triple 20, triple 20, double 8. Overall, my numbers weren’t bad, but at around a 14 handicap I was in the middle of the statistical pack. There were guys throwing at 21 and 22, knocking down 180 once or twice a night, 5 marks on command, three bull outs to scare the pants off ya. I tell you, there were some serious players. And they keep some serious stats to prove it. It took me a full three weeks to figure out the scoring.

What seemed Byzantine in complexity turned out to be an interesting way of organizing an evening of arrows for between 10 and 16 people. As ESPN invariably flickered like a sad, decaying constellation in the background and Lynyrd Skynyrd hitched up his panties for another go at Freebird, with Joe Cocker limbering up in the box, some snuck outside for a “safety meeting”, everyone made sure their beers were full, the room filled with smoke and the game was on.

The BCDL kicked off at 8, finished by 11, and continually left me feeling either good about my darts and indifferent about the night, or badly about my darts and downright hostile for spending so much time and money thinking it was worth it. Nonetheless, I played another season (Season 43) of Tuesday nights in the BCDL (with two more trophies to boot), and then switched to the Triangle Dart League, now playing on a team called, Still Armed, More Hammered (see p. 2).

The geographic overlap between the BCDL and the TDL is minimal, only one bar, the West End Tavern (WET) hosts teams in each league. What these two leagues don’t cover in the Triangle the Raleigh Dart League with 8 divisions picks up in droves. All of these local teams and bars have an affiliation with the Piedmont Dart Association which has a fantastically complex and comprehensive geography of its own. But that organization is modest relative to the American Darts Organization (ADO) which is in turn humbled by the World Darts Federation. Successive levels of inanity each more befuddling than the next. However, if we look at the member countries, the ol’ British drinking game rears its head, with some EU company:


AUSTRALIA

AUSTRIA

BAHAMAS

BDO

BELGIUM

BRAZIL

CANADA

CZECH REP

DENMARK

ENGLAND

FRANCE

FINLAND

GERMANY

GIBRALTAR

HONG KONG

HUNGARY

IRAN

ITALY

LATVIA

LITHUANIA

NETHERLANDS

N. ZEALAND

N. IRELAND

NORWAY

PAKISTAN

PORTUGAL

SCOTLAND

SWEDEN

SWITZERLAND

USA



WALES




Wait a minute…Who is that between Hungary and Italy? Perhaps the next president could establish some kind of “darts diplomacy” with our Persian brothers.

It seems absurd to comment on the culture of darts without talking about the places and people in more detail. The places where darts are thrown with something more than sloppy attention tend to have pool tables, electronic bar-top gambling, drop ceilings, fluorescent lighting, perpetual sports programming, primitive toilets, NFL/Budweiser advertising, and rock and roll on the three song for a dollar jukebox. The bars either don’t serve food or don’t do it well enough to bother. Some serve decent beer on tap, all have something good in bottles. A majority of people smoke. Nearly everyone drinks, and if they don’t it is likely on doctor’s orders. Whiskey shots are unceremonious. Fist punching, ubiquitous; high fives, impromptu and frequent. Casual racism, homophobia, and misogyny pervasive. Following tough norms of masculinity are welcomed, but not required. Being able to protect one’s self physically seems unnecessary, though fights are a part of life’s great mystery. There are also women present. To call it a disproportional representation would be both cruel and accurate, yet as I have frequently heard, "no one wants to lose to a team of bitches".

In short, the world of the BCDL and the TDL is a common one, where petty antagonisms and historical trajectories of intolerance manifest in predictable and lame forms. It’s almost hard to muster righteous cries of indignance when people are so grossly ignorant as to continue half-hearted, yet pointed attempts at making intolerance clever. Yet, in darts, it is ever necessary and increasingly important to get one’s point across. A small world in a large universe leaves little room for distinction.

CTG

April 7, 2008

Durham, NC

29 March 2008

Carolina Railhawks (0) v. Red Bull New York (1)

Railhawks get feathers ruffled, lose to Red Bull New York 1-0

Cary, NC
March 28, 2008
Weather: low 60s, sight breeze, partly cloudy, lovely night for soccer

This is the most diverse place in Cary. The 5,426 fans that came to watch an exhibition match between the Carolina Railhawks of USL-1 and Red Bull New York of the MLS offered keen insight into the general demographic mix of the Triangle. For myriad reasons, soccer is something that white people like. Fortunately, soccer is also something that Latin Americans and African Americans like, making Wake Med Soccer Park one of the few places where the major demographic elements of the Triangle come together for a shared event. While socio-economic, linguistic, and geographic divides are in no way altered by the event, there is a sense of shared appreciation that pervades the soccer experience.

In addition to augmenting a sense of importance and connecting diverse social groups, the rituals surrounding any public event also provide insight into cultural norms. One of the most striking twists to the pre –game rituals was the introduction of the Railhawks players as they emerged from cars. Not just any cars, mind you, Saturns, Saturns of Cary. 1,2,3,4,5,6 different models appeared from behind the stands, each delivering players behind the north goal. As the teams right-faced for the national anthem, the cars were trying to back out of their precarious position. Unable to move quickly enough, the cars paused for the well-belted national hymn, engines idling, facing the flag. More cynical readers might get a whiff of the poetic, others might not think about it at all. I suppose we should be thankful that they weren’t brought in by rail or public transportation.

Another curious ritual was the presentation of the Railhawk Dancers. The curious practice of putting teen and pre-teen girls in skimpy costumes as they move suggestively in front of thousands of people (mostly males) apparently is well within the bounds of suburban normalcy. As a parenting technique, it is a bit off. Could it be that there were girls as young as 6 prancing about for visual consumption? One gentleman sitting to my side commented that he felt as if he were a protagonist in American Beauty and was discomfited by that prospect. When we start suggesting to girls at such a young age that they are valued for their ability to successfully “perform” ritualized expressions of sexuality for consumption by the public gaze, what hope is there?

There was so much to think about before the game started that had forgotten why I was there in the first place. Having Red Bull NY in town was a rare opportunity to see former USA national team captain Claudio Reyna and the rising star Jozy Altidore. It was also a great opportunity to see some of the Railhawks’ new signings and to check out the changes that the front office and head coach Scott Schweitzer have made.

From the beginning the gap in quality between the two teams was evident. New York came out with a 3-5-2 which allowed Reyna freedom to dictate the pace through midfield. Carolina, as ever, play a traditional 4-4-2 with an emphasis on the 4s. The first ten minutes of the match revealed some of the differences between MLS and USL, with NY controlling the tempo and exhibiting greater confidence with and fluidity off the ball. However, those intimate with the foibles of US American soccer will not be surprised to hear that even at the highest professional level our players still have difficulty crossing the ball.

Local fans familiar with the anemic attack of 2007 will not be surprised that the Railhawks marked their vernal nesting grounds by laying a goose egg on the scoreboard. However, there was evidence that things could change through the sprightly, knavish, incisive, dynamic Martin Nuñez. Without knowing a thing about this 21-yr old attacking midfielder, it was obvious at first glance that his football is fútbol, molded on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. There needs to be an immediate competition for a nickname for this guy who plays like a small burrito Ortega.

Despite, and perhaps because of, the lack of collective organization going forward the Carolina defense stood out as quick, solid and experienced. Goalkeeper Chris McClellan was in control of his box, veteran center back David Stokes looked imperious, and captain Frankie San Filippo provided good defensive cover on several occasions. Though NY had the majority of possession, Carolina were only undone by a spectacular volley from 20 yards that flew into the top left corner. This was probably the best goal Dave van den Berg has scored in years.

Tactically, Carolina lost shape badly in transition, went backwards as frequently as they went forwards, and could not find anyone to pair with the creativity and guile of second half sub Fusilier, who comes from the same Rio de la Plata mold as Nuñez. Carolina did not make the most of the few chances gifted them by the Bulls – forward Joel Bailey making a hash of several counterattacking possibilities. In fact, Carolina only mustered one shot on goal all night. Thus, the biggest cheers of the evening were for free t-shirts. An interesting social science experiment would be to see how many t-shirts it would take for the crowd to become indifferent. Would there be as many unbridled expressions of desire if everyone had at least one? What if they changed the t-shirt every time? What if the Railhawk Dancers intimated the throwing of shirts but then left the crowd in the lurch? Would that only increase their lust for Bangladeshi cotton products?

The Carolina Railhawks are playing in the USL-1 for the second year. The Carolina RailHawks Women will play seven home games in the Atlantic Division of the USL W-League. Wake Med Soccer Park is also home to the Cary RailHawks U23’s, who will play in the Southeast Division of the PDL (Professional Development League, equivalent to the 4th division). Stay tuned.

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