Hailstorm grabs first USL League One victory
CARY, N.C. – After a week off for Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC, the USL League One newcomers made their third early season trip to the East Coast, and picked up their first league win of the season – a 2-1 victory over North Carolina FC.
Irish journeyman midfielder Shane McFaul made his season debut, starting for the Hailstorm. “It was great to get Shane out there, and I thought he looked good in the first half,” said head coach Éamon Zayed. “His range of passing gives us another dimension. He’s a big character with all his experience and the guys enjoy playing with him.”
Northern Colorado struck first when Daniel Scally drew a free kick in North Carolina’s half in the 18th minute. Arthur Rogers whipped in the free kick and Irvin Parra headed it home, looping the ball over the outstretched arms of the North Carolina goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. The goal was Parra’s second of the season, and was the fifth time in as many matches that the Hailstorm have scored first.
However, only a few minutes later North Carolina tied things up when Rob Cornwall left a pass back to keeper Thomas Olsen a little short, and Oalex Anderson was able to finish. Both clubs saw chances the rest of the first half, but it was all square after 45 minutes.
McFaul was forced off the field through injury just before the hour mark, though he did walk off under his own power. It was his substitute, Danny Robles, who provided the game winner in the 80th minute. A corner kick was punched away by North Carolina keeper Will Pulisic, but only as far as Lachlan McLean. McLean passed it back to Robles, who gave the Hailstorm the late lead.
“Feels really good to get the first win and feels good to score, but it was a team effort,” said Robles. “It’s a team sport and we played well tonight. Good to get the three points from this match.”
“First win in the league away from home is always the hardest,” said Zayed. “We will take that and that will give us confidence moving forward. It was a tight game, we started off well and felt we were well worth our goal and taking the lead. Playing away from home is difficult, and we have plenty more road games to come until we get back home, so this victory will help us grow. In the end, we are delighted to get the three points.”
The next time these two sides will square off will be the first-ever home game for the Hailstorm, on June 8. Up next for Northern Colorado is a trip to Chattanooga, Tenn., to take on the Red Wolves on May 7.