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  • Railhawks Give Rennie A Losing Farewell


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    ccs-123494-140264011835_thumb.jpgVancouver Whitecaps wrapped up their pre-season matches in Carolina this afternoon and ended it on a losing note, but it took penalties to do it.

    Today’s game was the fourth year the Railhawks have hosted a Community Shield match pre-season and it was the home side who went home with the silverware.

    Carolina took the lead five minutes in, doing what four MLS teams couldn’t do, and finding the Vancouver net.

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    Brian Ackley sent a corner in from the left and the Whitecaps defence let the ball bounce through straight to Amir Lowery, who easily fired home from four yards out.

    The Railhawks could have made it two in the 12th minute, but Brian Shriver was inches away of connecting with a through ball, with Caps keeper Brad Knighton just getting there first.

    It took the Whitecaps 25 minutes to get their first shot of the game, which posed no real problems for Akira Fitzgerald in the Railhawks goal.

    It was eight minutes before they had another one, with Fitzgerald saving well from Davide Chiumiento.

    The half came to an end and it wasn’t the performance from this group of players that we had seen in Orlando.

    Martin Rennie clearly gave the team a bollocking at half time, and with no Caps changes at the interval, it was a more intense Whitecaps from the first whistle of the second half.

    After a few forays forward, the Caps got back on level terms in the 49th minute, when Chiumiento sent a delicately flighted ball onto the head of Long Tan, whose flicking header gave Fitzgerald no chance.

    Tan had been pretty ineffectual in the first half, with Carolina closing him down really quickly and not allowing his pace to shine, but the goal continued his impressive pre-season run of form.

    Matt Watson had a long range drive from the edge of the box saved by Fitzgerald, as Vancouver continued to press.

    Chiumiento was sparking the Whitecaps attack and sent a dangerous ball to the near post in the 56th minute, which Austin King headed out before Russell Teibert could meet it.

    Two minutes later and Chiumiento was in the thick of the action again, with a curling shot from the edge of the box which Fitzgerald had to acrobatically turn round for a corner.

    Carolina had a great chance to re-take the lead in the 70th minute and had the Whitecaps defence scrambling, with Knighton making point blank saves from first Nick Zimmerman and then the impressive Shriver.

    And it was Shriver who gave the Railhawks back the lead a minute later, firing home from the edge of the box after Knighton had kept out a Zimmerman effort with a good stop.

    The match was now end to end, and an enjoyable encounter, with both teams having half chances as the clock ticked down.

    Vancouver tied it up again in the 90th minute, when Tan played a neat ball through to Chiumiento who took a perfect touch before burying it for 2-2.

    Carolina pushed for a stoppage time winner, but with no further goals, the final whistle signalled penalties to decide the Community Shield.

    Vancouver went first, with Sebastien Le Toux and Davide Chiumiento scoring for the Caps, and Sam Stockley and Tommy Drake doing the business for Carolina.

    Long Tan then missed his second penalty in a week, but at least this time he didn’t try to chip it, before Cory Miller made it 3-2 to Carolina.

    Then in a nice touch, former Railhawk Brad Knighton took the next kick. Maybe he shouldn’t have, as he ended up giving Carolina a gift back by blasting it high into the woods behind the stadium, allowing Ty Shipilane to step up and drill home the winning penalty, with a kick to spare.

    It may have been a slightly disappointing end, and display, from the Caps, in what has seemed like a long pre-season, but I was at least impressed to see the fight Vancouver had after the interval and they played some nice football against a tiring Railhawks side.

    Davide Chiumiento probably did himself the most good today, running the show for the Caps, but Matt Watson and Bryce Alderson also impressed in the middle.

    Carolina were clearly up for the game and gave Vancouver more problems than most of our opponents pre-season, with Brian Shriver and veteran Kupono Low particularly impressing.

    The Railhawks certainly raised a few questions about defensive depth, especially when the Caps face a team with pace.

    With all the friendlies now out of the way, the countdown is well underway to Saturday’s ‘First Kick’ against Montreal.

    Only then, will we be able to truly tell just how talented a Whitecaps squad Martin Rennie has put together.

    Final Score: Carolina Railhawks 2 - 2 Vancouver Whitecaps (Carolina win 4-2 on penalties)

    Carolina Railhawks: Akira Fitzgerald; Justin Willis (Jordan Graye 65), Cory Miller, Austin King, Kupono Low (Sam Stockley 90), Amir Lowery, Nick Zimmerman (Ty Shipilane 72), Michael Palacio (Tommy Drake 46), Brian Shriver (Craig Dargo 83), Brian Ackley (Kitson Bain 83), Fredrico (Andre McCreath)

    Vancouver Whitecaps: Brad Knighton; Greg Klazura, Michael Boxall, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey; Matt Watson, Bryce Alderson, Russell Teibert (Omar Salgado 71), Davide Chiumiento; Sebastien Le Toux, Long Tan [subs Not Used: Bilal Duckett, Michael Nanchoff, Caleb Clarke, Callum Irving]



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