The Carolina RailHawks scored first and were scrappy all game, but the talent and depth of FC Dallas proved too much in Wednesday's US Open Cup quarterfinal match, as the Texas club took a 5-2 win at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
In particular, the one-two punch of Blas Perez, who had three goals in the game, and Fabian Castillo, who notched a goal and two assists, proved unstoppable for the hosts, who entered the match with a 23-game unbeaten streak in all competitions at home.
The Railhawks opened scoring in the 9th minute when Zach Schilawski finished a quality cross from Enzo Martinez for the early lead, but Dallas turned loose its speed via Castillo and Tesho Akindele, and it simply was too much for the lower division side.
The first goal for Dallas was scored by Perez, the recipient of a fantastic cross from Akindele after the rookie turned the corner of the Railhawks’ left side in the 23rd minute. Perez scored his second shortly thereafter in the 34th minute to make it 2-1 after Je-Vaughn Watson again broke down the Carolina left side.
Carolina got back in the game momentarily when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute, as Martinez converted the shot to tie the game at two apiece, but just before the interval, Dallas would take the lead for good.
Castillo, who had tormented the RailHawks' wings all game, finally got loose behind the defense and was able to slot the ball home in the 44th minute of the first half following an impressive slaloming run through Carolina's defense.
In the second half, the game settled down considerably, as Dallas became much more compact in defense and Carolina, though able to hold onto the ball for sustained periods, could not break down the visiting defense.
Substitute Mauro Diaz put the game away in the 90th minute. After making a run from midfield, Diaz played the ball wide left to Castillo, who played the ball back to Diaz for a simple finish. Castillo got one last helper moments later, finding an onrushing Perez, who completed his hat trick.
It was not all good news for the winning side, as Hendry Thomas, the veteran midfielder who had just last Friday made his return to the field for FC Dallas, had to be subbed in the first half for what appeared to be a left knee injury.
Dallas will next play in the US Open Cup at home against the Philadelphia Union on August 12 in the tournament semifinals.