Apparently, you can go home again.
Rookie forward Zack Schilawski – who was born and raised in Cary, N.C. – did exactly that on Saturday night, scoring the game-winning goal in the 87th minute as the New England Revolution closed out its 2010 preseason schedule with a 2-1 win over the Carolina RailHawks (USSF Division 2 Pro League) at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The Revs finished with a record of 3-1-1 this preseason and went unbeaten in their final four games, outscoring opponents by a margin of 11-2 in the process.
Schilawski’s goal was his team-leading fourth of the preseason, as he scored in each of the Revolution’s final four preseason matches. He was joined on the score sheet by former Wake Forest teammate Pat Phelan, who gave the Revs a halftime lead with a 41st-minute header.
Second-half substitute Mark Schulte briefly pulled the RailHawks level in the 85th minute, only for Schilawski to grab the late winner. It marked the second straight year in which Schulte scored against the Revolution, as he notched the only goal in a 1-0 win over New England on March 14, 2009.
Although the Revs maintained the majority of the possession in the early stages, it was the RailHawks who created the game’s first quality chance in the 13th minute. Revolution goalkeeper Preston Burpo couldn’t hang on to Daniel Paladini’s knuckling shot from 25 yards out, but he recovered well to stifle the rebound attempt by Andriy Budnyy.
The Revolution – which registered 10 shots in the first half but put just three on target – didn’t seriously threaten the RailHawks goal until the 37th minute, when Kenny Mansally’s low cross from the left wing found Sainey Nyassi streaking toward the back post. Nyassi managed to get a shot off from a tight angle, but the attempt was blocked by a backtracking defender.
It was just four minutes later when the Revs broke the deadlock, however, as Phelan scored his first goal of the preseason with a powerful header from Mansally’s curling corner kick. Climbing over his defender at the six-yard box, Phelan directed his effort just under the crossbar to give the Revs the lead entering the halftime break.
New England almost doubled its lead in the 58th minute, but Mansally’s close-range shot was saved after the Carolina goalkeeper spilled Chris Tierney’s cross.
The action slowed down considerably in the middle stages of the second half, but the RailHawks took advantage of a late flurry to level the score in the 85th minute. Burpo first made a fantastic save on Schulte’s close-range header, but he could do nothing to stop the defender’s blast from the top of the box following the ensuing corner kick. After a brief scramble, Schulte launched his shot into the upper right corner.
Schilawski brought the crowd to its feet just two minutes later, however, slotting the ball into an empty net after Mansally’s initial shot was parried away by the Carolina goalkeeper. To celebrate, the Cary High School grad joined a slew of supporters directly behind the net.
Long-term injury victims Taylor Twellman (neck pain/concussion) and Matt Reis (shoulder/knee surgery) both departed North Carolina earlier this week after spending the first portion of the trip with the team. Meanwhile, Kevin Alston (hamstring), Darrius Barnes (quad), Mauricio Castro (ankle) and Edgaras Jankauskas (calf) were also unavailable because of injury, while captain Shalrie Joseph was rested.
With their five-game preseason slate completed, the Revs will now return to Foxborough to make final preparations for the 2010 regular season, which will kick off on Saturday, March 27, when they visit the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Kickoff against the Galaxy is set for 11 p.m. ET, and the match will be nationally-televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
NE – Pat Phelan (Kenny Mansally) 41
CAR – Mark Schulte (unassisted) 85
NE – Zack Schilawski (unassisted) 87
New England Revolution (4-4-2): Preston Burpo (GK), Seth Sinovic (Khano Smith 61), Cory Gibbs ©, Emmanuel Osei, Chris Tierney, Kenny Mansally, Joseph Niouky (Mike Videira 61), Pat Phelan, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 61), Kheli Dube (Nico Colaluca 61), Zack Schilawski
Unused substitutes: Bobby Shuttleworth (GK), Tim Murray (GK), Gabriel Badilla
Carolina RailHawks (4-4-2): Eric Reed (GK), Ramak Safi, Brad Rusin, Matt Bobo, John Gilkerson, Amir Lowery ©, Daniel Paladini, Kupono Low, Andriy Budnyy, Sallieu Bundu, Gregory Richardson