The Carolina RailHawks continue to celebrate their 10th anniversary in style improving to 3W-0D-0L in the NASL spring season with a 1-0 victory over Ottawa Fury FC at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
South African Tiyi Shipalane scored the only goal of the game in the 47th minute with a highlight-reel strike. After a loose ball scramble, RailHawks captain Nazmi Albadawi was able to nudge the ball to Shipalane. Shipalane took a touch, found some space, and then bent a spectacular ball past Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser that hit the bottom of the cross bar and fell into the goal. It was Shipalane’s second goal of the season and Albadawi’s third assist.
“Tiyi scored a world-class goal, it was simply incredible,” said RailHawks assistant coach Dewan Bader, the acting head coach filling in for Colin Clarke, who was attending the funeral of his father-in-law. “To be fair, we needed a goal like that because (Peiser) was amazing. He made save after save, but I told the guys at halftime we would get one and we did. It was a total team effort. After we scored the goal, we kept the pressure on and our defense, from back to front, played together as a team. Our hearts go out to Colin’s wife Gwenn and her family.”
With the victory and the New York Cosmos loss to Indy tonight, the RailHawks stand all alone in first place with nine points after three games.
“There is great energy right now with this team and this organization,” Bader said. “Our new owner (Steve Malik) and the entire organization believe we can do great things this year.”
Peiser, the reigning NASL goalkeeper of the year who would finish with six official saves, kept Ottawa in the game.
From the opening whistle, the RailHawks were looking to score in front of 4,208 fans. Austin da Luz, the reigning NASL player of the week after scoring three goals in the team’s first two games, had the team’s first opportunity in the second minute but Peiser would make his first save. Minutes later Shipalane would find Shriver in front of the goal, but again Peiser punched the ball away. Shipalane would also have a shot of his own denied by Peiser and the game would remain scoreless at halftime.
“Their goalkeeper made it tough,” Shipalane said after the game. “I knew I had to find a spot and hit it. But I give all of the credit to my teammates for working hard the entire game.”
The RailHawks head off for two games on the road (Saturday, April 23, in Tampa and Sunday, May 1, at New York) before returning to WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, May 7, to take on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Tickets are still available at www.CarolinaRailHawks.com.
A postgame fireworks show was part of tonight’s festivities.
CAR: Fitzgerald; Black, Tobin, Marcelin, Beckie; Perez, Watson, da Luz, Albadawi, Shipalane (Ceballos, 71); Shriver (Hassan, 84)
OTT: Peiser; De Jong, Rozeboom, Alves, Porter; De Guzman, Steele, Bailey (Eustaquio, 83); Paulo Junior, Vered (Chin, 25), Haworth (Olivera, 79)
CAR: Shipalane (Albadawi) 47.
CAR: Perez, 50.
OKC: De Jong, 36.