Five reasons to watch the Carolina RailHawks this weekend | Sports
INDY Week's sports blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on | Add on  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five reasons to watch the Carolina RailHawks this weekend

Posted by Google on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:00 AM

This Memorial Day weekend provides a bounty for soccer-loving Triangle denizens. The U.S. Men’s National Team is in town, training for an exhibition against Spain next weekend and the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicking off the week after that. Manchester United and Barcelona square off in the UEFA Champions League final Saturday afternoon (EDT).

Last but not least, the only live pro football area fans can see takes place Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. as the Carolina RailHawks host the Atlanta Silverbacks. There are several reasons to make a trip out to WakeMed Soccer Park a part of your holiday weekend.

High-Flying Hawks
With a record of 6-1-1, the RailHawks are off to the best start in club history. They currently sit six points clear of second-place FC Edmonton. The 18 goals Carolina has scored are six more than the next closest club, NSC Minnesota. And, only FC Tampa Bay has surrendered fewer goals - seven - than the eight Carolina has allowed.

RailHawks manager Martin Rennie spent much of the preseason openly declaring that this could be the most talented team he has every coached. The only question was how long it would take the influx of new players to jell into a cohesive group.

It apparently took about one match, an opening game loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders. Carolina hasn’t lost in the seven matches since, which have included two victories over the Montreal Impact and a return win over Puerto Rico last weekend.

Atlanta is buried at the bottom of the NASL table, earning only two points in seven games. They have scored the fewest goals in the league and are tied with Fort Lauderdale for the most allowed. While Carolina will have to be careful to avoid a potential trap game, the signs point to a fun night for RailHawks fans.

The Maltese Metaphor
Whether he’s a Falcon, Miracle, or Mediterranean Wayne Rooney, Etienne Barbara has already had a season for the record books. Barbara has scored in every match this season, including three braces and an opening match PK he buried after having landed from a transatlantic flight from Malta mere hours earlier.

Barbara’s 11 goals this season - already a club record - are more than the total scored by every TEAM in the NASL except NSC Minnesota, which has netted 12. He’s also tied for the league-lead in assists (three) and points (25).

Every streak eventually meets its end, but considering the fact that Atlanta has allowed the most goals in the league this season, Barbara’s exploits have a good chance of continuing.

A Slice of Derby Pie
Saturday’s match will be the first clash between the erstwhile Southern rivals since 2008. Two of the original participants in the inaugural, unofficial Southern Derby Cup in 2000 were the Atlanta Silverbacks and the Raleigh Capital Express. After the RailHawks were founded in 2007, they played Atlanta and Charleston in Derby competition until the Silverbacks went on hiatus for 2009 and 2010 seasons.

There’s No Place Like Home...for the time being
This weekend’s game against Atlanta will be Carolina’s sixth home match this season. After then, however, the RailHawks only have one home game during the month of June - versus FC Tampa Bay on 6/18 - and only two matches at WakeMed Park out of their next seven.

Ok, it’s unknown - even unlikely - whether any members of the USMNT will attend Saturday’s RailHawks match. However, consider this: Landon Donovan leads MLS with eight goals scored in 10 games this season. By contrast, Etienne Barbara has scored 11 goals in seven matches. So, if you make it out to WakeMed Soccer Park this weekend, you’re still guaranteed to see a star.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Sports

Twitter Activity


"Was he known for being rude and abusive to his employees"

Yeah, totally different from the …

by lewiskr451 on An Old Hedge-Fund Billionaire Just Bought the Carolina Panthers, And We’re OK With That (Sports)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"Was he known for being rude and abusive to his employees"

Yeah, totally different from the …

by lewiskr451 on An Old Hedge-Fund Billionaire Just Bought the Carolina Panthers, And We’re OK With That (Sports)

Class program and congratulations on another championship!

by shocked on Carolina Fans: Villanova Is Your Team, If Only for Tonight (Sports)

AMEN Brother!! Preach on!! …

by Alan Pohoryles on Daniel Snyder and the Redskins’ Culture of Exploitation and Incompetence (Sports)

"In 1838 battle that killed 3,000 Zulus in a single day."

Do you even know what these Zulus were …

by newsupdate24 on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation