Santiago Fusilier, the tough, tenacious Argentine winger who provided more than his share of highlights on last year's sluggish team, has dropped off the RailHawks roster.
His departure comes in a week when the team announced the signings of two veteran performers, Sierra Leone international Mustapha Sama and Turks and Caicos Island international Gavin Glinton. (Glinton, however, has a green card, which means his presence on the roster doesn't count against the league limit of seven international players. The RailHawks presently have six internationals. See comment thread here.)
A spokesman for the team declined to comment on Fusilier.
The team is preparing for its second major preseason friendly, this Friday against Honduran powerhouse CD Olimpia. The game, which begins at 8 p.m., will give fans another opportunity to assess a drastically made-over team that made an impressive debut in a 1:0 defeat of the New England Revolution two weekends ago.
Fusilier (which means "musketeer" in numerous languages) is a native of Buenos Aires and played three years at N.C. State before beginning his RailHawks career in 2007. That season ended prematurely with a knee injury, but he came back in 2008 and became one of the liveliest players in the RailHawks lineup. He scored four goals in 40 appearances with the team.
We're reposting one of our favorite Santi moments, which occurred in last summer's friendly versus Los Rayados de Monterrey of Mexico's La Primera Division. You'll see him making a sublime pass to Martin Nuñez (with whom he shared the team's co-offensive player of the year award) that nearly resulted in what would have been the game's only goal. (Video courtesy USLLive.com, by way of Jarrett at trisoccerfan.com.)