July 18, 2008
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.