Carolina RailHawks News Release – www.carolinarailhawks.com
Saturday, April 11, 2009
CARY, NC — The Carolina RailHawks opened the 2009 USL First Division season with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Thunder on Saturday before 2,927 at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Both of Carolina’s goals resulted from Mark Schulte’s deep throw-ins into the penalty area, which helped the RailHawks edge the Minnesota Thunder at WakeMed Soccer Park before a crowd of 2,927. Saturday’s win marks the first time in the team’s three-year history that it has opened the season with a victory. It is also Carolina’s second straight win over the Thunder after going 0-1-3 against them in their first four meetings.
The RailHawks had the run of play for much of the night. Carolina outshot the Thunder 17-10 and could have scored five or six goals. Though RailHawks coach Martin Rennie admitted some frustration over his team’s finishing touch, he was thrilled with his side’s play and the end result.
“If you look at the game overall, our team played well,” Rennie said. “The one thing you want as a coach is to create chances. … If you’re not creating chances, then you’re in trouble. We created a ton of chances. People can’t come and expect to see us win 10-1, but it should have been at least three or four tonight.”
But what the 2,927 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park got were to two tallies that started from the sideline. On most throw-ins in Minnesota’s defensive third, Schulte trotted from the backline and whipped the ball into the center of the box.
“It’s really hard to defend because it comes on a flat line, so it’s definitely a weapon,” Rennie said.
While his throw-ins are a weapon, Schulte showed his right leg also packs a punch.
In the 12th minute, he threw the ball into the box, and it came out of the area and back to him. From about 20 yards, Schulte lashed a drive that weaved its way through the crowded box and whistled past the outstretched Nic Platter.
“I ran out, and there wasn’t much pressure on me,” said Schulte, who is also the RailHawks’ captain. “I was kind of too close to pass it, and there were too many bodies. My only option was to hit it, so I just swung away, and thank the Lord it went in at the far post.”
The RailHawks dominance in possession was aided by Minnesota playing a man down for the final 68 minutes. In the 22nd minute, Minnesota defender Brian Kallman was sent off for a malicious tackle on Carolina’s John Gilkerson.
But Kallman’s exit actually affected Carolina more in the immediate aftermath. Five minutes after he was sent off, Minnesota struck for the equalizer. Melvin Tarley took a pass from Rod Dyachenko at the top of the penalty area, and Tarley weaved through the Carolina defense and smashed a shot past Eric Reed at the near post.
“That’s kind of common. Whenever a player gets sent off, the team with 11 kind of relaxes. We definitely fell prey to that,” Schulte said. “I was disappointed for us. But Melvin scored an amazing goal. He put it right in the upper corner, an incredible shot.”
Coming out of halftime, the RailHawks didn’t take long before striking for the game winner.
Gavin Glinton scored the go-ahead goal in 56th minute, four minutes after he entered the match. The play started with Schulte’s throw-in into the middle of the penalty area. The ball bounced out of a scrum and rolled to Daniel Paladini. Paladini hammered a shot from 30 yards, and it ricocheted off a Minnesota defender, hit the crossbar and went straight up in the air. As the ball came back to earth, Glinton beat Minnesota’s Platter to the ball and headed it in at the near post.
“I know Daniel’s got a great strike. As soon as it took the deflection, I followed it just in case in came back in,” Glinton said. “[Platter] jumped up to tip it and I was coming in full force, and I was fortunate to get it before he was able to punch it out.”
Over the final 20 minutes, Carolina nearly scored four more goals. In the 71st minute, Jack Stewart had a shot cleared off the line and Glinton was denied by Platter from eight yards out seconds later. In the 84th minute, Luke Kreamalmeyer saw a shot from 12 yards roll inches wide, a chance set up on a feed from Amir Lowery, and Hamed Diallo, a 69th-minute sub, missed a minute later from the identical spot.
While a number of chances went astray, it was reassuring to Rennie and his players that at least the chances were there. The goals will come.
The RailHawks return to action on Tuesday, when they will face the USL Second Division’s Wilmington Hammerheads in an intra-divisional friendly in Wilmington. Carolina will return to USL-1 play on April 18 when they will face the Rochester Rhinos at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Since Saturday’s win over Minnesota marked the first time the RailHawks have taken three points in their season opener, a win over Rochester next weekend would give Carolina six points through two matches for the first time, too. And that’s certainly what the RailHawks have their eyes on.
“Nobody’s running on all cylinders yet,” Glinton said. “So the more you can get points early, the better it is in the long run. It’s good for us to get the home opener, get the three points and hopefully we keep moving on.”