The Atlanta Silverbacks played to a 1-1 draw against the Mercer University Bears Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
In preparation for Sunday’s scrimmage against the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, the Silverbacks fielded a starting lineup primarily featuring reserves and trialists.
The Bears jumped ahead almost immediately, with defender Josh Shutter converting a penalty kick in the 4th minute. The referee whistled the Silverbacks for a handball on the edge of the box, paving the way for an early lead for the visitors.
Midway through the first half, the Bears could have doubled their advantage, but forward Richie Edmondson’s open header in the box sailed just wide.
With the second half came the introduction of several Silverbacks substitutions, which included Raphael Cox. The 5-foot-7 midfielder was on the end of a well-played pass by teammate Fernando Gonzalez, but his shot from eight yards rolled inches wide.
The home team found their equalizer minutes later, though, when substitute midfielder Ciaran O’Brien drilled a shot home from ten yards out. The goal came off of a set piece, with substitute midfielder Lucas Paulini providing the pass to O’Brien.
Cox came close to poking home a game-winner in the closing minutes, but his shot was blocked by a Bears defender, keeping the score at 1-1.
The Silverbacks travel to Nashville tomorrow for a scrimmage against the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team. The matchup comes just four days before the U.S. squad begins CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.
The scrimmage will take place at Lipscomb University at 6 p.m., and it will be closed to the public.