The expansion Austin Aztex, season-long cellar dwellers with Minnesota and Cleveland, visit WakeMed tonight at 7. Both Tim Candon of the RailHawks and Rachel Ullrich of the News and Observer have pieces about the Aztex' Michael Callahan, Cary native and one-time star for Green Hope High School and the UNC Tar Heels (the latter team he led to a surprise appearance in the NCAA finals last December).
Ullrich tells us that Callahan expects a good turnout from his family and friends. Candon tells us about an unfortunate gaffe by the Aztex, who (surely inadvertantly) played Callahan in a game against Montreal on July 25 when he should have been serving a one-game suspension for accumulated yellow cards. For the violation, the league docked the Aztex a point in the standings, and they also had to forfeit the point they earned by drawing with Montreal. This deals a serious blow to any hope the Aztex have of making the playoffs.
One thing unmentioned by both Candon and Ullrich: Callahan trained for at least a day with the RailHawks back in February. Triangle Offense visited camp and saw a number of recent ACC standouts, including Callahan, N.C. State's El Hadj Cisse and a dude a couple of years out of Wake Forest by the name of Amir Lowery.
We're not sure how close Callahan came to making the RailHawks roster, but we never heard his name again until he popped up in Austin a month later. For the sake of a RailHawks midfield that will be missing Lowery and Daniel Paladini (both serving suspensions for yellow-card accumulation), let's hope Callahan has nothing but fond feelings for the RailHawks club—the PDL squad of which he played on for two years.
And what the hell: While we're thinking about tonight's game, here's our guess for the RailHawks' lineup: Reed, Schulte, Tolleson, McKenney, Gilkerson, Low, Plotkin, Kabwe, Richardson, Kreamalmeyer, Bundu. On the bench: Rusin, Watson, Norkus, Budnyy, Cunliffe, Gardner, Patterson.
Weather forecast for kickoff is skies clearing, 81 degrees.