After a long road trip and a tough loss to FC Edmonton, the Atlanta Silverbacks are happy to be home. The Silverbacks kick off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they host the Carolina RailHawks at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
The Silverbacks’ performance in Edmonton started out exactly the way head coach Brian Haynes envisioned it, dominating possession in the early going and creating a number of quality scoring opportunities. Forwards Pedro Mendes and Jahbari Willis each came close to finding the net in the early going, and with what would ensue minutes later, they would be kicking themselves for not taking advantage of those early opportunities.
Goalkeeper Joe Nasco would be sent off in the 22nd minute for handling the ball outside the penalty area, reducing the Silverbacks to 10 men and putting their backs against the wall for the remainder of the game. FC Edmonton would take advantage of the situation, and thanks to goals from Daryl Fordyce and Michael Cox (two), they would go on to grab the 3-0 win.
The Silverbacks will look to recreate their early dominance in the Edmonton game when they meet the league’s hottest team, the RailHawks, this Saturday. Head Coach Colin Clarke’s side hasn’t lost this season, and sits atop the NASL standings with 11 points.
The high-flying RailHawks come to Atlanta on the heels of a comprehensive 5-2 win over the San Antonio Scorpions at WakeMed Soccer Park. The league’s top scorer, forward Brian Shriver, tallied two goals in the game, helping his team go three points clear of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, FC Edmonton, and Minnesota United, who all sit in a tie for second place.
The RailHawks have enjoyed visiting Atlanta since the NASL started play in 2011. The RailHawks have never lost at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, most recently leaving Atlanta with a 1-0 win last August. It should come as no surprise that they have a potent attack this season, as is usually their trademark. Thanks to players like Shriver and fellow forward Zack Schilawski, the RailHawks have produced a league-high 12 goals.
The Silverbacks have scored the second-most goals in the league this year with 10, but have conceded 11, leaving them vulnerable to the RailHawks attack. The two teams have had high-scoring contests before, most notably their 4-4 draw in the early part of last season.
Forwards Ruben Luna and Pedro Mendes lead the way for the Silverbacks’ attack, with each player having bagged three goals this season. They’ll have to go against an experienced RailHawks defense that includes longtime veteran Kupono Low and new addition Paul Hamilton, who came over from FC Edmonton earlier this spring.
The Silverbacks and RailHawks will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the game will serve as the second part of a Silverbacks doubleheader. The Atlanta Silverbacks Women kick off their 2013 home opener at 4:30 p.m. against the Charlotte Lady Eagles, and fans will be able to see both games with the purchase of one ticket. To purchase tickets, please call 404-969-4900 or visit atlantasilverbacksfc.com.