Miami FC visits WakeMed Soccer Park this afternoon at 2 p.m. The temperature is forecast to be 91 degrees at kickoff, and Miami will be no pushover. This month, they’ve begun a march out of the bottom of the table: They’ve won two games, drawn two and lost just once. One of their draws was against the undefeated Portland Timbers (although the Timbers returned two days later to hammer the Blues 3-0).
The RailHawks need to win today to salvage the weekend and stay near the top of the table. If they lose, they will be five points off the pace set by Portland, with each having played 18 games. Puerto Rico and Charleston are tied with Portland with 35 points apiece, but they’ve played 22 and 20 games, respectively.
Friday night was not so hot for the ‘Hawks as the Charleston Battery fired two artillery shots past Eric Reed in the first half, and held on for a 2-1 victory. Luke Kreamalmeyer scored in the 87th off a long free kick from Kupono Low Daniel Paladini. *
Particularly worrisome was an apparent reversion to the defensive form of June: Both Battery goals originated as corner kicks.
Aside from failing to pick up any points (and handing three more to a injury- and suspension-plagued, but first-place Charleston side), the RailHawks saw midfield stalwarts Amir Lowery and Daniel Paladini each pick up their fifth yellow cards of the season, meaning that they will have to serve a one-game suspension. According to Tim Candon, the suspension will likely be served next Saturday, a home game against cellar-dwelling Austin.
In other USL news this weekend:
- USL-2 Wilmington clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders, thanks to the help of goalkeeper and former RailHawk Chris McClellan, who had six saves.
- How good are the Portland Timbers? Yesterday they played Burnley FC, newly promoted to the English Premier League, to a 2-2 draw. Burnley visited WakeMed Soccer Park a year ago and lost 2-1 to the RailHawks’ U-23 PDL team (which they don’t maintain anymore). Here’s a recent Times story (h/t Tim Candon) on the vastly different West Coast preseason tours being undertaken by Burnley and Chelsea.
*Corrected July 27