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RailHawks may rest starters on Sunday

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The Carolina RailHawks have won the 2011 North American Soccer League regular-season championship with three games left.

So what's next for coach Martin Rennie's team? It is 17-4-4, has broken almost every franchise record, has locked up the No. 1 seed in the NASL playoffs and a first-round bye into the semifinals.

Will Rennie rest his starters or will he continue to play them so they are sharp for the postseason? The answer might best be summarized: it depends on the game.

Sunday’s game at Montreal will be the RailHawks’ third match in eight days. Rennie said rest for some of his roster would be likely -- which is good news for Montreal as it tries to clinch the final NASL playoff spot.

“Because we’ve got three games in a week we might change up some things a little bit,” Rennie said. 

But after the Montreal game, the RailHawks close out the season on consecutive Saturdays (at Puerto Rico, at home with NSC Minnesota). With a full week between games, the focus will shift.

“We’re going to try to play as strong of a team as we can – as long as they’re no injuries," Rennie said. "There’s a week between each (remaining) game and then there’s a week off (before playoffs).”

The RailHawks don't have much to play for -- but there is one golden number they could still attain. Should Carolina win out, it would have 20 wins in its 28-game league schedule.

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About the blogger

J. Mike Blake has been the Sports Editor for The Cary News and Southwest Wake News since October 2008. He holds two "unofficial" NCHSAA records in two different sports - highest career free throw percentage (2-of-2) in basketball and fewest career singles victories (zero. sigh.) for tennis.