Cary, NC – In the most-attended game in the history of the Carolina RailHawks, the local team stood strong against the English Premier League’s West Ham United, ending the game with a 2-2 draw.
More than 10,000 fans came to WakeMed Soccer Park, selling out the arena, all to see the RailHawks play West Ham United’s Hammers. Residents flocked to the sides of the railing to call out to famous players such as Andy Carroll and large swaths of the stands were filled with the Hammers’ crimson uniforms.
The action started quickly as the RailHawks got up on the board in the 13th minute when an attempt to block RailHawks’ Nazmi Albadawi backfired and the Hammers’ Winston Reid scored an own goal.
The Hammers retaliated quickly, both times thanks to Carroll, who showed fans up close why he is a world-class athlete. Carroll scored in the 18th and 20th minutes, the second time thanks to assistance from the Hammers’ Sofiane Fegouhli. While the strong West Ham sections cheered and sang, there was clear disappointment in the face of the Carolina section.
From here on out, competition was tight and Carolina came close with a few near-goals in the 28th and 40th minutes, the first near-goal part of an assist from the RailHawks’ new forward Matt Fondy.
Not long after the teams returned from half time, bad weather forced a delay with a 2-1 score in the Hammers’ favor. However, once back, West Ham’s Lewis Page was penalized for a hand ball and the RailHawks’ Marvin Ceballos stepped up with a penalty kick to tie the game 2-2 in the 67th minute.
Both sides battled it out for another half hour but the game ended with the tie in place. The Carolina RailHawks played a world-class team and were not beaten.
Top Athlete Coming to RailHawks
The sold-out showing at WakeMed Soccer Park served as a good stage to introduce the RailHawks’ newest signee. RailHawks owner Stephen Malik announced that Omar Bravo, the all-time score leader for C.D. Chivas Guadalajara. Bravo also scored two goals in the 2006 World Cup.
Bravo even played in the last 10 minutes of the Tuesday, July 12, 2016 game and his announcement and appearance at half time got a big rise out of excited fans.
Bravo is set to play in the RailHawks’ next home game on Friday, July 22, 2016 against Miami FC.
Story and photos by Michael Papich. Coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Elegant Stitches in Cary.