Five Talking Points - Carolina RailHawks

!. Hot, hot, hot

West Ham United’s US Touring party jetted from the temperate climes of the Pacific Northwest to the 100-degree humidity of the South.

This change in surroundings will present a new challenge for the Hammers’ technical and medical and sports science departments, who will have prepared a different training regime to cope with the heat.

Hydration and recovery will be central in their thoughts, as injuries are more likely to occur when players are dehydrated and fatigued. Expect to see plenty of photos of players taking on water, both internally and externally, in the coming days.
2. Young stars’ second chance to shine

Tuesday’s match will hand West Ham’s promising youngsters a second chance to impress before the big-hitters return to the squad later in pre-season.

With the likes of Payet, Collins, Ogbonna, Randolph, Kouyate and Valencia absent from the Tour due to their summer international commitments, a number of the Club’s Academy products have travelled to the US.

Against the Sounders, the likes of Irish centre-half Declan Rice, 16-year-old winger Domingos Quina and Spanish striker Antonio Martinez all caught the eye, and will hope to do so again when they face the RailHawks.
3. The rise of the RailHawks

Many West Ham fans will have been blissfully unaware of the existence of the Carolina RailHawks prior to the announcement of the Hammers’ summer visit to the US.

However, the word is that Tuesday’s hosts are among the most ambitious and upwardly-mobile members of the NASL (North American Soccer League), with dreams of breaking into the top-flight MLS (Major League Soccer).

North Carolina may be a hotbed of college basketball – the famous Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels are based just a long three-pointer away – but if the RailHawks owners have anything to do with things, their soccer club will soon be sharing the headlines. Tuesday’s game is a chance for them to do just that.
4. Time’s up

After being restricted to 45 minutes each in their opening pre-season fixture at Seattle Sounders, West Ham’s players will see their game-time go up on Tuesday evening.

As their fitness levels continue to rise, Slaven Bilic will give his first-teamers up to 60 minutes of action against the Carolina RailHawks – a fixture that comes just 12 days into their 2016/17 preparations.

Again, the priority will be for all of the 21 players in the US to come through the game unscathed, but with higher levels of performance will hopefully come a higher level of performance, and with it a more positive result.
5. Can Dimi do it?

While pre-season training will be at the forefront of the Hammers’ minds in North Carolina, the squad and management will likely take time out to watch Sunday’s UEFA Euro 2016 final at 3pm Eastern Time.

For the first time in 50 years – Bernard Lama’s contract had expired by the time France reached the 1998 World Cup final – West Ham will have a representative in a major international tournament final.

Dimitri Payet has been one of the shining lights of largely gloomy tournament, and he will be desperate to turn it on again as his French hosts take on Portugal in Paris. If he does, nobody will be happier than his West Ham coaches and teammates.