The Carolina Railhawks saunter into Saint Petersburg tonight in possession of the best record in the NASL (7-1-1) and atop the league table by a full 6 points over second place Edmonton, the team that demolished FC Tampa Bay (2-4-3) midweek.
FC Tampa Bay may be utilizing newly acquired defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe this evening. Watson-Siriboe comes to the club on loan for the balance of the NASL season from MLS’s Chicago Fire. After losing 4-0 on Tuesday and looking lost defensively, head coach Ricky Hill will surely be glad to have more reinforcements for the back line.
They will need all of the help they can get to contain Carolina’s high-flying offensive attack, led by the NASL’s best offensive player this season, Etienne Barbara. Barbara currently leads the NASL in goals, assists, and points. He has scored 11 times, 4 more than FC Tampa Bay has scored as a team this season. Carolina has scored 20 goals this season, 7 more than the next closest team. As if that’s not enough, they also are tied for the league lead in fewest goals allowed with a mere 8.
Tonight’s match will certainly prove a troubling task for the green and gold. We should learn a lot about Tampa Bay’s ability to rebound from a disappointing loss based on how they perform tonight.