Following Thursday’s practice, atlantasilverbacksfc.com spoke with Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco and midfielder Milton Blanco about the team’s mindset ahead of their first road game of the season, which comes Saturday against the defending NASL champions, the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The Rowdies and Silverbacks both earned convincing shutout wins last weekend and will look to repeat those performances this Saturday. After earning his first clean sheet of the season last weekend, goalkeeper Joe Nasco is hoping for much of the same this time around.
“I feel very confident about our back line, no matter who coach decides to play,“ said Nasco. “Last game, it was Beto Navarro and Martyn Lancaster in the center, Shane Moroney on the right and Mark Bloom on the left. It really clicked on Saturday, so that was definitely a nice feeling to have that confidence in front of me.”
“It’s always fun going on the road and listening to people yelling at you. Fans are great around the entire league,” said Nasco. “They are out there to have a good time and to watch a great brand of soccer.”
The Silverbacks were paced by goals from Navarro and midfielder Danny Barrera in their 2-0 win last weekend against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Barrera received a pass from midfielder Milton Blanco, and he was able to turn and slot the ball past Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser for the second goal. Blanco is hoping to create a few more opportunities for his teammates this weekend.
“Obviously they are the defending champs, but that was last season,” said Blanco. “Everyone started with a clean slate this year and right now they are only one point ahead of us.”
“Last time we went there, they had a decent crowd. But for me as a player, it motivates me when the crowd is going against us,” said Blanco. “It makes me want to quiet them down and get them out of the game.”
“I have to keep playing simple and the simpler I play, the sooner the players that need the ball get it. It’s more about doing what I need to do to help my team win.”
The Silverbacks hope to improve on a rough road schedule last season and starting it at Al Lang Stadium will be a difficult task. The players will have to deal with the fans and the noise, but they are looking to take the energy out of the support early. The Silverbacks are looking to start the season 2-0 for the first time since joining the league in 2011.
To watch the game live, you can visit atlantasilverbacksfc.com. The Silverbacks will also be hosting a viewing party at the Elder Tree Public House in East Atlanta Village. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.