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.