The RailHawks return to Minnesota tonight for the first time since last year’s 5-0 shellacking in St. Paul, the most lopsided defeat in the team’s brief history. Kickoff is at 8:05 EDT.
They are 0-1-2 against the Thunder in regular-season play. Carolina tied Minnesota 1-1 in its season opener last year before going to Minnesota in their second-to-last regular-season game. They tied 0-0 on May 18 earlier this year, and they also played this preseason, ending in a 1-1 draw at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The RailHawks, 1-4-2 after starting the season 3-0-4, enter the match decidedly shorthanded. Mauricio Segovia (knee), Frankie Sanfilippo (hamstring), Jacob Coggins (hip flexor) and Joey Worthen (hamstring) are out due to injury, and Kupono Low is unavailable because of yellow card accumulation.
The Thunder are 4-7-4 this season with a goal differential of minus-4 (14 goals four, 18 goals against). They trail the RailHawks by two points for eighth place in the USL-1 table.
Tonight’s match will be Minnesota’s first at the National Sports Center since June 14. The Thunder played their last four matches on the road, going 0-3-1.Tonight will also be the first of seven straight home matches for Minnesota, which has shown it is a much better side at home than on the road. Minnesota is 3-1-1 at home and 1-6-3 on the road.
Carolina, meanwhile, hasn’t fared well away from WakeMed Soccer Park. The RailHawks are 1-4-2 overall and winless in their last five road matches. They’ve also been outscored 13-5 in those seven matches.