If you've been a witness to the RailHawks labor somewhat at home this year (1-2-1, including the Mexico match), you're probably stoked that the team has gotten off to a 2-0 start to a four-game road trip.
Each home game has been vastly different from the next. First, the RailHawks won 2-0 over AC St. Louis — but one caveat — both goals were scored against 10 men in the first half. Next was the only truly dismal performance of the year, a 2-0 loss to NSC Minnesota. Then came a 1-1 tie with the Mexico U18 team (thanks to an own goal). The best the team has looked all year at home was its most recent WakeMed contest, a 2-1 loss to FC Tampa Bay. The RailHawks outplayed the Rowdies but were forced to pay for their few lapses.
But now that the team has hit the road again, it appears that a switch has been flipped and the team is looking more like the team we thought we were going to see entering this season. The RailHawks are one of two USSF D2 teams undefeated on the road (2-0-2).
But coach Martin Rennie said there wasn't necessarily a turning point, just steady improvement as this year's group has gelled.
“It’s hard for me to think there was this big turning point because I
wasn’t thinking this was a bad team or this is going to be a bad
season. I think other people maybe thought that," Rennie siad. "I always thought, in the
course of a season, things will go against you and some things will go
for you. It just so happened things started to go against us at the
very start, so then people began to question the team. But the team’s
better than it was last year and I think it’ll do very well. We’ve
still got to prove that.”
With fans only privy to see the 1-2-1 RailHawks in person, criticism — particularly at the end of the Minnesota match — was heightened since last year at the same time. Though the team played well against Tampa, losing after scoring the first goal was a hard pill to stomach. But Rennie said Thursday he was always confident in his squad's play.
"If you lose a game, everybody analyzes it and looks like it like all these things aren’t working and if you win a game everybody looks at it like everything’s working," Rennie said. "The truth of the matter is, things we were doing – apart from the Minnesota game – were good ... In general, the play has been quite good.”