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RailHawks visit Tampa with playoff positioning on the line

Posted September 19, 2012

— The Carolina RailHawks (10W-8T-8L, 38 pts.) have two remaining games against the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies (12W-7T-7L, 43 pts.) to close out the 2012 NASL Regular Season.

The first, a matchup in Tampa Bay, tonight, before traveling to WakeMed Soccer Park for Saturday night’s regular season finale. If the RailHawks win both matches they will secure a second place finish in the standings and earn a playoff bye into the Semifinals. A tie in either of the final two matches will result in the RailHawks hosting the quarterfinal match on Saturday, September 29th.

The RailHawks are coming off a big win in San Antonio, defeating the league-leading Scorpions 2-1. The RailHawks are 3W-1T-0L in their last four road matches, scoring 8 goals during the unbeaten streak.

“We have two very difficult games at hand,” said Head Coach Colin Clarke. “Both teams have something to play for; a bye into the semifinals is up for grabs. In a way, the playoffs are starting tonight.”

INJURIES
The RailHawks will be without the services of Zack Schilawski and Tommy Drake due to injuries. Schilawski was injured in Sunday’s match in San Antonio and will miss time with a broken foot. Surgery is scheduled for next week. Drake underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair a torn meniscus.

PLAYOFF PICTURE
Along with the RailHawks, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, Puerto Rico, Fort Lauderdale, and Minnesota have secured all six playoff spots. The teams are now fighting for positioning and home field advantage. San Antonio, currently in first place, has already clinched a quarterfinal round bye and will begin their playoffs directly in the Semifinals. The RailHawks currently sit in fourth place, 3 points ahead of fifth place and 5 out of second place.

PLAYOFF FORMAT
In 2012, six teams will qualify for the NASL Playoffs. The regular season champion and the second-place team will receive a Quarterfinal round bye. The Quarterfinal round will be a single match, hosted by the higher seed. The Semifinal and Final rounds will be a two-match home and home series with the winner determined on aggregate goals. In the event overtime is required, teams will play two 15 minute overtime periods and then proceed to penalty kicks, if necessary.

LAST TIME OUT
The RailHawks defeated the Scorpions 2-1 in San Antonio on Sunday evening. The RailHawks scored the first goal of the match in the first half when defender Gale Agbossoumonde headed in a free kick from Floyd Franks. After Pablo Campos equalized the match, Ty Shipalane scored the game winner after receiving a through ball from Franks to dribble past the keeper and score on the empty net.

SERIES HISTORY
The RailHawks and the Rowdies have tied in their previous two meetings. The first match between both teams was played in Tampa Bay on April 18th and the game ended 1-1. Brian Shriver scored the goal for the RailHawks before Tsuyoshi Yoshitake tied the game. On August 4th at WakeMed Soccer Park the RailHawks gave up a two-goal lead in the final minutes to draw 3-3. Nick Zimmerman scored twice and Jason Garey added the third goal. The RailHawks are 5W-2T-1L all-time against the Rowdies.

REGULAR SEASON FINALE
The RailHawks will close out the 2012 NASL Regular Season against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, September 22nd at WakeMed Soccer Park. As tradition, the final regular season match will be Fan Appreciation Night and team awards will be handed out pregame. The first 1,000 fans will receive a 2012 Carolina RailHawks team poster courtesy of Etix. To purchase tickets for the regular season finale or 2013 Season Tickets visit www.CarolinaRailHawks.com.

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