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The Carolina RailHawks are facing the final month of the regular season, and the team has decided to bring in some new faces for the stretch run.
Enter Konrad Warzycha, a 23-year-old versatile player on loan from Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer. Warzycha, the son of Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha, can play right back, central defense or central midfield.
He has only played in one MLS game in his injury-shortened two years in the league, but he has seen some time this year on Sporting KC’s reserve team. A third-round pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, he tore his knee during his first season in the league.
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But with the RailHawks, Warzycha can play right away at a number of needed positions.
“It gives us some good options. We just want to make sure all of our bases are covered going into the most important time of the year,” Coach Colin Clarke said.
The depth at center back and defensive midfielder were each under the microscope on Saturday as Carolina was without starters Gale Agbossoumonde and Amir Lowery due to yellow card accumulation.
Right back has been a shaky position in recent months, with Cory Elenio giving way to Greg Shields, who has spent most of this year primarily serving as an assistant coach.
“It’s a good opportunity to get good experience. ... We’ve had one reserve game in the last two and a half months,” Warzycha said.
Clarke said the team was talking to three or four other teams about acquiring players but did not confirm a report from a Ugandan professional team that states 24-year-old defender Henry Kalungi has agreed to join the RailHawks.
Carolina made a few late-season acquisitions during the three-year tenure of Martin Rennie.
In 2010, the RailHawks got a huge push toward the postseason with the signings of Devon McKenney, Daniel Woolard and David Hayes, as well as the loan of Tom Heinemann, a forward who had finished his season for the third-division Charleston Battery.
Woolard and Heinemann started every game from mid-August through the postseason, and both wound up in the MLS after the RailHawks’ loss in the championship. Carolina went 6-3-3 (including playoffs) to close out the year.
Carolina had tried to do get a Heinemann-like impact from a September transfer in 2009, but forward Matthew Delicate’s arrival from third-division Richmond Kickers didn’t yield nearly the same results. That year, Carolina was eliminated in the first round.