The Carolina Railhawks with host FC Edmonton at Wake Med Soccer Park on April 13th at 7:00 EST. Last season, FC Edmonton finished 5–13–10 which was good enough for last place in the NASL. In the off season Edmonton completely reorganized their team and coaching staff. They signed 16 new players and kept only 7 of their previous players. They also hired new coach Colin Miller. In the first game of the 2013 season Edmonton drew Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1 - 1, so it is unclear if these changes will pay off.
FC Edmonton got the 2012 season, their second in the NASL, all wrong. Edmonton fell from 5th place (impressive for a new NASL team) in 2011 to dead last in 2012. They scored the least number of goals out of all teams in the NASL, with only 26 goals in 28 regular season games games. They did not make the playoffs, either. Specifically against the Railhawks, they manged to win their first game against the Railhawks 3-0, then lost 3-0, then 3-2, and finally ended the season with a 2-2 draw.
Looking to improve in the 2013 season, FC Edmonton shuffled their entire team adding 16 new players. Unfortunately, in the shuffle they lost Kyle Porter (to DC United) and Tashir Pinto (to Lota Schwager), which were two of their top scorers. They also lost center back Paul Hamilton, who joined the Carolina Railhawks (who had a phenomenal first game of the 2013 season despite getting sent off) . They did manage to keep their top scorer, Shaun Saiko, however, and also added Daryl Fordyce (a formerly in the Irish Premer League) and Chris Nurse (a former Carolina Railhawk).
Recently, it has also been announced that FC Edmonton has been loaned midfielder Robert Garrett who plays in the Irish Premier League (and who also has two caps with Stoke City in the EPL.) Because of the date of the signing, he will be unable to play against the Railhawks but should be available when Edmonton travels to play Minnesota United on 4/20.
On the defensive end, Edmonton was loaned Carlyle Mitchell by the Vancouver Whitecaps. Edmonton also moved Mallan Roberts from their reserve squad to the first team. The new blood should have give new manager Colin Miller a better team than FC Edmonton had last year, but it’s unclear if they will still make it out of the bottom of the table.
In the preseason, FC Edmonton beat the University of Alberta 3-1. They also played the Vancouver Whitecaps reserve team and lost 3-2. A subset of the team that didn’t play the Whitecaps’ reserves, also played Abbotsford Selects and beat them 6-0. They then drew the University of British Columbia (who had beaten the Whitecaps reserve squad), and finally won against Gonzaga University, 4-1. The overall preseason record for FC Edmonton was 3-1-1 which gives no real information about the quality of the team considering the the strength of their preseason opposition.
The Carolina Railhawks and FC Edmonton both are tied at one point apiece and Carolina will be looking for their first home win in their first game at their newly renovated stadium. For Carolina to improve on last week’s performance, their offense needs to find the back of the net (although just stringing a few passes together and a few shots on goal would be better than last weeks first half). Hopefully, Nick Zimmerman, the striker with the second most goals in the 2012 NASL season, will be available for the Railhawks after missing last game. It is unclear if he will be available or why he was not available to play last game against the Rowdies. The Railhawks may also have a tougher time without center back Paul Hamilton, who had a tremendous first game as a Railhawk, but is suspended for receiving a late second yellow.
The game kicks off in Wake Med Soccer Park at 7:00pm on April 13th. The first 2000 fans will receive a free Railhawk’s t-shirt.