Hawks take out Caps - News Observer


Carolina captures ninth win of season

BY RACHEL ULLRICH

CARY -- Coach Martin Rennie knows that when he's still not completely happy, even after a win -- that's a good problem to have.
Rennie was thrilled his team picked up a 2-1 win Friday against Vancouver, sure. But more than anything he was irked the RailHawks couldn't score even more.
"It's a great result, I'm just frustrated 'cause it could be so much more," he said. "We missed about seven really clear chances. I mean, literally seven chances."

The RailHawks' offense came alive in the win against the Whitecaps, notching 13 shots in the game and a goal in each half for their ninth win.

"This game could have been 5-1, 6-1, easy," midfielder Brian Plotkin said. "I mean, it's a good problem to have because you're creating the chances. Now the hard part is finishing the chances."

Carolina finished well at least twice Friday, and one of those came from a newcomer to the team.

Striker Gregory Richardson, in his first official appearance for Carolina since signing two weeks ago, began terrorizing the right back as soon as the game's third minute.

It started with a slick back-and-forth to beat two defenders on the sideline, and that translated to a one-on-one with Vancouver keeper Jay Nolly. Nolly got there that time, but he had no such luck later in the half.

In the 44th minute, Richardson received the ball on the right sideline from a well-placed cross from John Cunliffe. Right on the back goal line, Richardson took a shot slid it past the keeper, deflected by another player.

The other finished product for the RailHawks -- Sallieu Bundu's second-half goal -- came in a rather unconventional way.

The pass from Plotkin to Bundu seemed just inches from hailing an offsides call, and it looked almost as though Bundu's follow-up shot came off his raised fist.

"No, no, no," Bundu said. "But I was hesitating for the goalkeeper and for him not to punch me.

"As soon as I got in front of him, I was like, 'Let me just go for it, whatever happens,' and I got it with my head."

When Plotkin sent the ball forward, Bundu collided with the Vancouver keep, sending the ball straight into the air. It was Bundu who got possession as it fell, sending it over the keeper's head and into the back of the net.

In the 90th minute, Whitecaps striker Charles Gbeke slammed a shot into the net off an assist from Mason Trafford to provide the Whitecaps' only goal.

Today the RailHawks take on first-division Mexican squad Estudiantes Tecos at 7 p.m. in an exhibition in the third edition of Futbol Tecate in Cary.

rachel.ullrich@newsobserver.com