Published: Jan 17, 2013 01:15 PM
Modified: Jan 17, 2013 01:17 PM
The new format to the Carolina RailHawks season is now on paper.
Six home games and six away games give the team a dozen chances to try and host the league championship.
That’s what’s at stake now in the North American Soccer League. A fast start isn’t just a fast start anymore – it’s a chance to become the spring season champ and thereby host the NASL Soccer Bowl on Nov. 16.
The fall season, which starts a month after the end of the spring season, will also have a champion which will be the visiting squad in the Soccer Bowl.
And while season tickets are being sold for Carolina’s six home games, there’s another 3,000 tickets to sell than there were last year.
After adding an upper deck, seating capacity in WakeMed Soccer Park this year has increased to about 10,000.
All of Carolina’s home games are on Saturdays, and the only non-Saturday road game is a July 4 contest at San Antonio to close out the spring season.
The RailHawks open on April 6 with a visit to defending NASL champion Tampa Bay. Vancouver Whitecaps to return
The RailHawks have announced that Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps will again be the visiting team in the fifth annual Community Shield Match, scheduled for Feb. 24.
The Whitecaps, which made the MLS playoffs last year under former RailHawks coach Martin Rennie, visited last season for the match and fell to Carolina in penalty kicks.
Vancouver has three former RailHawks coaches, including Rennie, and four former players in Brad Knighton, Jun Marques Davidson, Matt Watson and newly acquired Brad Rusin.Indianapolis next in NASL expansion
The NASL expanded to 12 teams last week. Indianapolis is the latest expansion franchise.
There are currently nine teams in the NASL, but three will be added next season in Ottawa, Indianapolis and northern Virginia.U.S. Open Cup schedule leaked
While the U.S. Soccer Federation hasn’t released the official schedule, it appears a premature posting by an adult amateur region’s website has revealed the schedule for the100th annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Open Cup is set for May. According to the schedule, the second round – where the RailHawks begin play – is set for May 21. Last year, the RailHawks advanced to the fourth round, recording wins against adult amateur team PSA Elite and the MLS’ LA Galaxy before falling to MLS’ Chivas USA.