Saturday, August 15, 2009
BURNABY, BC -- Carolina and Vancouver, the two USL First Division teams that have been shut out the least and have played to the fewest ties this season, were unable to solve each other Saturday night and played to a scoreless draw at Swanguard Stadium.
“I think it was a good game, a good point for us,” said Carolina coach Martin Rennie. “We were looking to win it, but in the end it’s a good result.”
The draw, Carolina’s first since June 19, leaves the RailHawks (13-5-4, 43 points) in third place in the USL-1. The RailHawks trail Portland (48 points) and Charleston (44), though they have a game in hand over Portland and two over Charleston.
The RailHawks withstood massive pressure from the Whitecaps all night. Vancouver (7-9-5, 26 points) took 22 shots (to Carolina’s 9) and had 10 corner kicks (to Carolina’s one), but the Carolina defense held firm. Caleb Patterson made seven saves – his second straight seven-save effort and third of the year – to extend the RailHawks’ scoreless streak to 490 minutes, nine shy of the club record they set earlier this season. It’s Patterson’s eighth shutout of the year and the RailHawks’ league-leading 14th.
Carolina had not been shut out since June 14 – a stretch of 13 matches where they scored 25 goals – but their opportunities going forward were limited on Saturday, and when the RailHawks got into the final third, their touch was off.
From the run of play, their best chance came in the 48th minute. John Cunliffe and Matt Watson, two players who’ve been out of the lineup for several weeks, worked a nice give-and-go that put the ball on Cunliffe’s foot from eight yards out. But Cunliffe mishit the ball, and Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly (three saves) easily collected it.
“I think when you’re defending so much, those chances are a bit more difficult,” Rennie said. “In the first half, it looked like we could have taken a quicker shot, but overall, I’m pretty happy with the result.”