Defender Justin Thompson talks about the anticipation for the match in Carolina, analysis of the 1-0 win over the RailHawks and the optimism for the month of September in his Road Report from North Carolina.
Friday, Aug. 31 – 8 p.m.
Well, we've just arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina for our final East Coast swing of the regular season. We arrive in Carolina only one point behind the league leaders, the Seattle Sounders. We are at the stage of the season where we feel like the playoffs have already started. We know we can't afford to drop any points if we want to win the league, and it is pretty much do or die for Carolina as they try to scrape into the playoffs. The pressure is on them, because to not make the playoffs would have major financial implications for both the players and the club. It should be a great game.
Saturday, Sept. 1 – 2 p.m.
September has arrived and with it comes renewed optimism about our chances of finishing in first place! Seattle was upset last night by Minnesota, at the bottom of the league, losing 2-1. This means that if we can win tonight, we will be back atop the standings! We are all looking forward to tonight's game because Carolina has arguably the best field and stadium in the league. SAS Soccer Park is a fantastic place to play as it's a soccer-specific stadium and the grass is like carpet. We know they will come out flying tonight, but hopefully it will be us who can keep possession, pass the ball around, and leave Carolina with three points.
Sunday, Sept. 2 – 11 a.m.
Yahoo! Another 1-0 victory! We're sure that teams must hate playing against us. We shut them down defensively and our strikers caused them all kinds of problems going forward. We always know that if we can keep a clean sheet, we will have a great opportunity to win the game late on. We believe we are fitter than any other team in the league and we've shown it on numerous occasions this year by scoring late goals to win 1-0. Tonight, it was Luke Kreamalmeyer who got by his man and sent in a low cross to the near post. BJ (Bryan Jordan) made a good run and challenged for the ball just inside the six yard box. It's still not clear whether it was an own goal or if BJ got a touch on it, but I think we'll give this one to the rookie!
All we can do now is concentrate on Vancouver next weekend, and hope Seattle drops a point or two along the way. We have big aspirations and we want to continue our success by getting past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history since 2001! It will be an exciting month as we find out what this team is really made of. I have 100% confidence in the whole group from the ownership to the management to the players to the physio, and of course, our massage therapist John C. Green! All that's left is to write is the fairytale ending to what could just be the perfect season!
See you all out in the stands in the first round of the playoffs; I know you won't miss it!