On a hot and humid Sunday evening at House Park, over 4,100 fans saw the Aztex take a 3-1 lead over the visiting Carolina RailHawks and hold on for a 3-2 victory. This was the first 2010 matchup between the two clubs, with the other match coming on October 1 in Carolina. Austin remains in second place in the USL Conference, but narrowed the gap to four points behind the red-hot first place Rochester Rhinos. The Aztex have played four fewer games than Rochester has after Sunday night’s contest. Carolina holds onto second place in the NASL Conference, three points ahead of Montreal, with an 8-7-7 mark, and have played two fewer games than the Impact.
The Aztex had two early chances in the game, but both Joey Worthen and Lawrence Olum shot over the Carolina crossbar, and it was Martin Rennie’s RailHawks that got on the scoreboard first Sunday evening. Midfielder Daniel Paladini scored his third goal assisted by Josh Gardner in the 18th minute. The Aztex came back in the 32nd minute as USSF D2’s second leading goal-scorer, Englishman Eddie Johnson, beat Carolina goalkeeper Nic Platter with a left footed shot for his 10th goal, assisted by Lance Watson. The first half ended 1-1.
The second half began with Austin substituting veteran defender Jay Needham, bringing in young Jamaican Kieron Bernard in his place. Platter made a nice save on a Leonard Griffin free kick early in the half and Aztex’ goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was called upon to make a big save, and he delivered, keeping the game tied. in the 68th minute, Austin defender Yohance Marshall came through with his second goal of the season to give Adrian Heath’s Austin club the lead, and former Crystal Palace Baltimore forward Randi Patterson, subbed in for Eddie Johnson, added an insurance goal in the 81st minute. Patterson’s goal was his first for the Aztex after scoring four for CP Baltimore.
But never count Martin Rennie’s team out, as Glasgow native Allan Russell opened his RailHawks account in the 83rd minute to cut Austin’s lead to one goal. Unfortunately for the RailHawks, two goals weren’t enough for a result. Austin has won four of their last five games, and continue to display the attractive, high-octane offense that is attracting larger crowds to House Park as the season goes on. The league’s highest scoring team outshot Carolina 16-8 in a very entertaining contest.
Next up for the Aztex is a Thursday night contest in Portland. The matchup will be televised on Fox Sports Northwest (Channel 687 on DirecTV, 426 on Dish) beginning at 9:00 pm CDT, and will be steamed online. The RailHawks have an even shorter turnaround, as they face FC Tampa Bay in Florida on Wednesday night.
Austin Starting Lineup: Gallardo, L. Watson, Needham, L. Griffin, Marshall, Worthen, Sakuda, Olum, Alvarez, Johnson, M. Griffin Subs Used: Bernard, Silva, Patterson, Callahan, Allen
Carolina Starting Lineup: Platter, Shields, Schulte, Gilkerson, Bobo, Paladini, Lowery, Gardner, Franks, Davidson, Barbara Subs Used: M. Watson, Russell, Budnyy, Richardson