CARY (WTVD) --It was a sticky, stormy but memorable night at WakeMed Soccer Park on Tuesday during a 2-2 draw between the Carolina RailHawks and West Ham United of the English Premier League in front of a record crowd.
"We're moving forward," said RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke. "We feel like we have a very good team, and we'll continue to look to add and improve."
The RailHawks didn't come to roll over, and in fact had the better chances early.
RailHawks captain Nazmi Albadawi cut in from the left side and missed a curling shot just wide to the right of the post.
Later, more pressure and great hustle led to a West Ham mistake when Winston Reid slotted a cross from Albadawi into his own net, making it 1-0 RailHawks in the 13th minute.
A Premier League team in Cary. So awesome. pic.twitter.com/rRilQQDRBh— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) July 13, 2016
But just five minutes later, Reid would get it right back, winning the ball in the Carolina area and putting it past keeper Akira Fitzgerald to knot the score at 1-1.
The Hammers struck again in short order, with Sofiane Feghouli crossing to Andy Carroll for the nice finish and a 2-1 West Ham lead just 20 minutes into the match.
After a rain delay punctuated by lightning, the RailHawks drew a penalty kick after a handball was called against Lewis Page.
Marvin Ceballos nailed the penalty kick and the home team had a 2-2 draw in the 67th minute.
The goal was Ceballos' first as a RailHawk.
Fans even got a surprise bonus, as the RailHawks' newest and most famous acquisition, Mexican icon Omar Bravo was introduced at halftime and then came on in the 80th minute to get his first taste of action for the RailHawks.
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The international friendly, marked the first time an English Premier League team has visited the Triangle.
A RailHawks record 10,125 fans attended the game.
Two Hammers fans all the way from Dayton, Ohio for tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/OhhlC8Lj0U— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) July 12, 2016
West Ham finished seventh among the 20 teams in the most recent Premier League season.
The RailHawks currently sit in seventh in the 12 team North American Soccer League, but only 3 points out of first place through two games of the Fall Season.
The RailHawks travel to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday to take on the Strikers before returning home to face Miami FC at 7:30 p.m. on July 22. Bravo is expected to make his official debut then.
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