The split-season format of the North American Soccer League gives teams a new start.
All teams are 0-0-0 again; this time, they have 14 games to earn a spot in the NASL Soccer Bowl championship, which spring champion Atlanta will host.
But the start of Carolina’s fall season comes with a somber tone after the RailHawks lost two would-be spring-season-clinching games.
After failing to win the spring season, the RailHawks must regroup to try to win the fall season. The top team in fall will play Nov. 9 in the NASL Soccer Bowl championship.
Switching it up: After the late-season collapse, a roster shakeup seemed inevitable.
Out is team captain Floyd Franks and in is 23-year-old Bryan Arguez from Minnesota United. Franks was in his fourth season with Carolina and his first as captain.
Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake has loaned Enzo Martinez back to Carolina. Martinez played three games for the RailHawks and scored one goal before Real Salt Lake took him back.
On the mend: The RailHawks were forced to go through the spring season without three players who figured to start or be in the team’s top 18, as Nick Zimmerman, Breiner Ortiz and Nicolas Adderly were injured before the year started.
Carolina would like to have those three back, including two vital players who got hurt late in the season: Tiyi Shipalane and Julius James.
Staying hot: The top bright spot from the spring season was the goal-finishing prowess of Brian Shriver, a University of North Carolina product. He had eight of his team’s 20 NASL goals.
Midfielder Austin Da Luz, a Wake Forest University product, had a team-high five assists and finished tied for third on the team with two goals. He started 11 NASL games.
Defensive midfielder Nick Millington, a Middle Creek High product, was the only player to start all 12 games.
Defender Jordan Graye, also a former UNC player, showed well, as did goalkeeper and Wake Forest grad Akira Fitzgerald.
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