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Islanders Gain Big Road Win in Carolina Saturday Night

The Puerto Rico Islanders met the Carolina RailHawks Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park, and came away with a 3-2 win.  The victory pushes the Islanders past Montreal into the sixth USSF D2 playoff spot with a total of 32 points on the season with a 8-7-8 mark, while the RailHawks retain the fifth playoff spot and remain in 2nd place in the NASL Conference.

Carolina opened with some nice possession, and in the fourth minute had some nice work deep in Puerto Rico territory as Andriy Budnyy found Daniel Paladini, but his ball to defender Greg Shields came to naught as Shields shot over the Islander’s goal.  The Islanders came back to take the lead in the 11th minute.  A corner kick by Keon Daniel was headed to a wide open David Foley, who headed into an open net as RailHawks goalkeeper Nic Platter was stranded on the other side of the goal. 

The RailHawks equalized about ten minutes later.  Daniel Paladini played a ball squared by Budnyy about five yards outside the box and let go a rocket that beat Bill Gaudette, the Islanders’ keeper, and went right under the crossbar.  A beautiful goal, and perhaps the RailHawks’ goal of the year.   Allan Russell, the RailHawks’ Scottish forward, had a chance before the half hour mark, and the Islander’s midfielder Jonathan Fana had a point-blank shot that went directly to Platter a minute later.   The first half ended drawn at 1-1.

After a scoreless thirty minutes after intermission, the Islanders took the lead as Sandy Gbandi beat Platter, assisted by Daniel.  Two minutes later, the Islanders doubled the lead as Nicholas Addlery netted for the sixth time in league play, with the assist credited to defender Marco Velez.  The RailHawks came back, when Russell played the ball to Paladini, who struck again for his fifth goal of the season.  Too little too late, however, as the WakeMed crowd of over 2,500 were unable to see the RailHawks equalize before the clock ran out.  The Islanders outshot the RailHawks 13-11, and the RailHawks only forced two saves out of Bill Gaudette. 

Martin Rennie’s RailHawks host Crystal Palace Baltimore next Friday before playing a friendly against Mexican Liga Ascenso squad Pumas Morelos on Sunday.  That match will feature veteran Claudio Suarez in a RailHawks kit, as the former FMF and MLS star has been training with the Carolina squad.  The Islanders next stop is Portland, as they make a Pacific Northwest road swing to play the Timbers on Thursday night and the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.  Colin Clarke’s Puerto Rico club, who are tied with Toluca for first place atop Group D in the CONCACAF Champions League, play their next CCL match on September 15 against Toluca. 

Carolina Starting Lineup:  Platter, Schulte, Bobo, Shields, Gilkerson, Davidson, Paladini, Gardner, Watson, Budnyy, Russell   Subs Used: Franks, Richardson, Elenio

Puerto Rico Starting Lineup:  Gaudette, Horst, Martinez, Velez, Villaroel, Fana, Salem, Daniel, Telesford, Addlery, Foley  Subs Used: Gbandi, Allison, Rivera, Jagdeosingh, Emory

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