The RailHawks and the Vancouver Whitecaps traveled an aggregate total of 10,000 miles in four days to emerge with two points apiece. Following Saturday's 0-0 stalemate in Vancouver's Swangard Stadium, the two squads battled fatigue and humidity Tuesday night in Cary for a 1-1 draw. After falling behind on a 66th-minute Vancouver goal, late sub Andriy Budnyy settled a ball from John Cunliffe and scored to salvage the draw in the 87th minute.
The thing of it is, it was a decent result for both sides. Vancouver got two points from a tough opponent to keep them in the playoff hunt. And, despite the results, the RailHawks are still in a strong second-place position—which some might consider a better prize than first place, with the first-round playoff bye that comes with it.
Right now, Portland is in the driver's seat for regular season title, with 48 points to Carolina's 44, with both teams having seven games to play. Here's how the playoff contenders stack up, ranked by points-per-game. The top seven make the playoffs.
If the current league positions hold (which they won't, of course), the RailHawks will be looking at a trip to Canada in the first round. Portland probably won't lose tonight at home against Miami (who will then have to play in Vancouver tomorrow), while the RailHawks have a much tougher task to extract points from Rochester in Marina Auto Stadium tonight. If they'll get the three points, they'll still be in shouting—if not striking—distance of the Timbers.
We'll know more in a few hours. Watch the RailHawks on USLLive.com at 7:35 p.m.
A few odds and ends: