Railhawks wear down Battery
Railhawks wear down Battery, scratch out third consecutive win
May 19, 2007
An educated view of the 2006 World Cup
Railhawks wear down Battery, scratch out third consecutive win
May 19, 2007
Carolina Railhawks pluck Chivas USA 2-0, earn first victory
May 8, 2007
In front of 5,205 rain-soaked fans, the Carolina Railhawks of USL-1 defeated Chivas USA of Major League Soccer with first half goals from Phillip Long (’29) and Anthony Maher (’39). The first win in the Railhawks’ short history came at the expense of the Los Angeles-based outfit that fielded a second string team with a combined wage bill of $457,000 ($41,500 average).
A burst of rain just before kickoff livened up the immaculate grass at SAS Soccer Park and signaled a damp evening for the pro-Chivas crowd. Chivas USA is the sister team of Deportivo Guadalajara (aka Chivas), Mexico’s most successful and popular team. With tremendous appeal in the Triangle’s Latino community, thousands of fans came to the stadium dressed in Chivas gear. Though undoubtedly disappointed that Mexican national team idol Claudio Suarez was not in the starting lineup, he did spend time before the game signing autographs.
The rain had no apparent ill-effect on the Railhawks who were playing in their third match in five days. Having failed to score in the previous 349 minutes of play, the locals took less than one hundred seconds to threaten the Chivas goal with former New England Revolution player Connoly Edozien forcing Burpo into an early diving save.
Chivas replied in the 5th minute, Lopez slashing a tempting ball across the box which required a timely intervention by Carolina’s captain San Filippo. As the rain lessened, the pace of the game quickened and Philip Long, making his first start in the center of midfield released Anthony Maher who flashed his shot across the visitor’s goal. Carolina’s Edozien continued his run of excellent form and was able to open up spaces through midfield with ease.
The weather and the play was to turn somewhat rougher, the skies opening up just before Chivas’ Kleijstan was booked for a late tackle on Stokes. The pain of the challenge did not prevent Stokes from tidying up in the back throughout the half, although his retaliation in the 25th minute did not go unnoticed by the 4th official, earning him a booking.
Following a ten minute spell in which nothing much and everything happened, an apparent Carolina goal was disallowed for offside. The momentum was turning in favor of the home team and it was only slightly surprising when Philip Long made the most of his coach’s selection and a poor clearance by the Chivas defense to lash a left-footed blast into the bottom right corner of the goal in the 29th minute. The sense of relief amongst the home supporters was palpable and put an end to hours of attacking frustration.
The lack of quality in some of the Chivas players was apparent, with Burling and Lopez looking overvalued at a combined salary of $30,600. Carolina pressed their advantage while the throwing of John Deere hats into the crowd proved that people of all cultures love free stuff that they don’t really need.
Chivas did not take kindly to the initiative taken by Long, and began to kick back a little too literally in the 31st minute. In a violent sequence which oddly saw Carolina’s Kupono Low receive the only booking, a contested ball led to pushes and grabs and kicks, bringing both teams into a melee on the sideline.
Chivas appeared to be riled up, but could not find a way through the Railhawks’ well-organized defense – Stokes and Dombrowski bottling up the middle of the field with pace and precision in the tackle.
As the half moved into its final stanza, the local support found their voices and were rewarded by some enterprising play between Edozien, Carrieri and Maher. Edozien won the ball in midfield after more sloppy exit play by Chivas, released ex-UNC Chapel Hill standout Carrieri down the right flank. His hopeful ball was met with Maher’s sliding right boot and skipped over Burpo’s hand which was desperately reaching for his left post. Two nil, and finally some luck had come Carolina’s way.
The first half ended with a booking for Carrieri after stepping on a Chivas player and a brief attacking flurry which John O’Hara handled with relative ease in the Carolina goal.
In a sporadic downpour, Edozien continued to be a creative menace in the second half. The ill temper of the first half also continued, with Maher and Thomas locking horns in a slow and brutal dance in the center of the park. Despite (or perhaps because of) the aggression of the visitors, Carolina did not look interested in relinquishing their advantage. Joey Worthen slid in from left midfield to flash a Carrieri cross just wide, and in the 56th minute Edozien again turned provider, his centering pass deserving a better response from a lunging Maher. It wasn’t long before things turned ugly again.
In the 60th minute, Low was adjudged to have (magically?)drawn down Merlin on a breakaway and received his second yellow. The ensuing discussion led to more fisticuffs yet no more bookings. Chivas, now up a man and clearly angry, could not muster a shot on goal nor get behind the Railhawks’ stalwarts in the center of the park, Stokes, Dombrowski and Sanfilippo frustrating attacks at every opportunity. Carolina changed Edozien, Long, Maher, and Carrieri for Fusilier, Abolaji, Jeffrey and Cephas– Jeffrey receiving a stomp on the backside following a tackle from behind in the 84th minute. More shirt grabbing and tussles ensued.
Carolina were unlucky not to score their third as Fusilier was released into the box by Cephus in the 88th minute, his shot banging off the base of the post and skidding across the goal mouth. The unexpected result left Chivas coach Predrag Radosavljević (Preki) screaming for more than one minute of time to be added by the referee. He bustled his team into the bus without talking to the media.
Carolina head coach Scott Schweitzer was predictably pleased with the result crediting his players for working hard for each other: “If we continue to do the right things for long enough, playing our style, the goals will eventually begin to fall. We’re still learning a lot about what we need to do as individuals and a team and I think we’ll be much improved this weekend in Atlanta.”
Carolina (0-3-1, 3pts) are currently ninth in the USL-1, Chivas USA (2-3-0, 6pts) eighth in the MLS. Carolina travel to Atlanta this weekend to take on the Silverbacks in a rematch of last weekend’s game which they lost 2-0.
Duke University Blue Devils (3)
Box score at http://aueagles.cstv.com/sports/m-soccer/stats/2006-2007/auvsduke.html
September 1, 2006
The opening five minutes of the match revealed a frenzy of attacking moves as both defenses struggled to adjust to the wet field conditions, which contrived to accelerate and brake the ball like an octogenarian driving a taxi. It took just two minutes for the American #11 (Larry Mark) to connect with a Sal Caccavale to put American into an unexpected lead. The shock was so great for the American #10 that he lost his footing as he ran in ever tightening circles, quickly turning the home fans’ disappointment into mirth.
Less than two minutes later, mirth gave way to exuberance as Duke equalized through
Spencer Wadsworth, who slotted home Mike Grella’s neatly crossed ball. The goal signaled that
Duke were not taken aback by the young Americans’ early foray into their territory and for the
following fifteen minutes Duke dominated possession although at times they seemed nervous with
the ball at their feet. The seeming ease with which Duke controlled the game came to an abrupt
end in the 24th minute when Mark fired off the Duke post against the run of play. The sound of the
ringing crossbar spurred Duke coach John Rennie into action, substituting Charowski for Vidiera
in the 25th minute. Within 90 seconds, Charowski sliced forward from his central midfield position
to combine with
and Grella for the second goal. The move was a thing of beauty, Wadsworth
shifting from the center to the right wing and then a long crossfield ball played neatly on the
floor that gave the American keeper no chance and Grella made no mistake. Grella’s form has
been outstanding in the first three games of the young season, and with his flowing tresses and
dynamic moves, he is one of the more entertaining and devastating strikers in the ACC.
As American sensed the game ebbing away from them, they withdrew a striker into
midfield in order to stop Duke’s ravages. The back line stepped forward to compress the field,
but Duke is nothing if not expert in sending the midfield line flying forward in attack. With
the skill and pace to compete with the best teams in the nation, it was no surprise when the
Blue Devils hammered home their third goal of the half on 40 minutes, 38th minute substitute
Chris Loftus making his coach look like a genius for the second time in the half. Though they
appeared to be out-classed, American nearly halved their deficit in the dying moments of the
half and only a goal line clearance spared the Devils’ blushes.
The second half featured none of the great drama of the first, but was dignified and manly in
the pursuit of it. On a wet, chilly night the sound of leather against leather and leather against
human flesh combined with the throatiness of post-pubescent young men to create a sense of
urgency on the field, if not in the stands. Both teams did their best to maintain the pace and
creativity of the first half, but the goals for the night had been tallied and the crowd wandered
home, damp and content.
Duke next take on
in the championship game of the Duke Classic on Sunday at 7:30pm. South Florida University
So with the World Cup over, we're figuring out how to keep this going. Just like the pros on the pitch, we're resting up and moving around to some new cities.
The World Cup ended a mere 11 days ago, yet it already seems so far away. I suppose this is the human tendency to see the past as something that has already happened, the future as undertermined. I tend to agree, yet the case of Zizou's headbutt will not let me rest at night. It's as if I can see it happening tomorrow as easily as it did on the 9th of July, 2006. Here are some of the more puzzling questions for me:
Zidane isn't talking, not even in Paris, so it's leading to all sorts of guesses and shady sources. The consensus: It was provoked by "a serious comment."
After a great tournament, the final featured all that was wrong with soccer. And not just deciding the match on penalty kicks. France clearly dominated the match, in all but putting the ball in the net. You can certainly argue that Zidane's penalty kick wasn't a penalty, but there were a couple of others not called that certainly were. Italy's offense packed it in shortly into the second half. They had two dominant players on the field in keeper Gianluca Buffon and defender Fabio Cannavaro. But after that, it was all France.
The Tired: My nomination for the most tired team of the tournament goes to Brazil. Parreira came back with Anakin Skywalker's stunt double (Zagallo) to direct a side that had nothing but parasitic bugs wandering around the flanks and horns of the tournament favorites. By contrast, Ronaldo and Adriano looked nothing so much as like a pair of sacred bulls wandering the markets in India, swollen testicles banging off produce, vacant stares at passers-by, immune to both criticism and praise. Since their quarterfinal exit, the Brazilians have been partying like never before, and why not? If the USA, Ecuador, Costa Rica or 21 other teams had won four games on the trot and lost to France in the quarters, they would be partying too. Imagine if Arena had pulled the Yanks to within a nose hair of the semifinals? We'd be dancing in the street. But Brazil was capable of so much more that everyone feels a bit cheated. The burden of expectation was released with the loss to France. Who can really claim they are Brazil's historical rivals in football?
Oh Zizou Zizou,
The lingering feeling of the 2006 World Cup final will undoubtedly be one of confusion. Can there be any logical explaination for Zidane's headbutt? Even if Materazzi, who is known for violent behavior, did provoke Zizou with the most vile and odious of insults, with 10 minutes left in the last game of the World Cup, in the last game of a glorious carreer, why, why, why get sent off for violent behavior??? Like most of the rest of the world, I wanted France to do well because of Zidane and his un-merry band of un-French French. With the exceptions of Barthez, Sangol and Domenech the French team were either products of French colonial endeavors or from the lower strata of French society. We could take comfort in not rooting for the French as such but for the individuals that may or may not have represented or identified with the nation (state). But Zizou's reaction to Materazzi gave the Italians the tactical and moral ground to claim their victory and fourth trophy. Given Barthez' weak-chinned, no-lipped, frog-legged performance throughout the Cup, there was no chance that Italy could be beaten in penalties.