Published: Oct 07, 2010 07:23 AM
Modified: Oct 07, 2010 11:50 AM
The Carolina RailHawks and the NSC Minnesota Stars will play Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park in a do-or-die match after neither team scored in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Neither team scored in Wednesday's first leg of the first round in the USSF D2 Pro League playoffs, which was hosted by the Stars.
The two teams will meet on Saturday night, at 7 p.m. in Cary, for the chance to move on to the next round.
The winner of each USSF D2 playoff rounds is determined on total goals after a home-and-away series. If the two teams are still tied after the second leg of the series, they will play two 15-minute halves, played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks if necessary.
"We started the game a little slow, but we improved as the first half went on and I think we played well in the second half and created quite a few good chances," said RailHawks head coach Martin Rennie in a statement. "We generally defended well and played well, so now the game is open for the taking at home and we're looking forward to that."
The first half took on a tentative pace as both teams seemed keen on not conceding the first goal.
Play opened up a bit late in the first half, and Gregory Richardson nearly put the RailHawks on top with a breakaway in the 39th minute. After slipping the ball under Minnesota goalkeeper Joe Warren and regaining possession, Richardson played the ball across to Gardner who was unable to connect.
RailHawks goalkeeper Eric Reed came up strong when called upon in the first half, ensuring that the RailHawks went into the locker room tied at 0-0.
Reed continued to keep the game level in the second half, after a diving save in the 63rd minute.
RailHawks midfielder Matt Watson was inches away from breaking the scoreless tie in the 75th minute, but his shot soared just over the crossbar. With the game in stoppage time, RailHawks defender Brad Rusin nearly stole the win after he got behind the defense and chested the ball inches wide.