The Atlanta Silverbacks are ready for a fresh start, and they’ll get exactly that when they host the season opener against the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
Though the Silverbacks return 11 players from last season, the team underwent a major personnel overhaul this past offseason, bringing in several new faces from all over the world.
Honduran midfielder Danilo Turcios, a veteran who holds FIFA World Cup experience and a staggering 85 appearances for his country’s senior national team, headlines the new group that will face the Scorpions, the NASL’s newest team, on Saturday night.
Turcios, an attack-minded player, will miss out on combining with forward Matt Horth, who topped all NASL rookies last season with eight goals. The 6-foot-3 frontman has been sidelined with an injury since the team’s preseason win over the Charleston Battery.
The Silverbacks also bolstered their defense during the offseason, signing a pair of tall centerbacks, Rilla and Martyn Lancaster. The duo will have to deal with Scorpions forward Pablo Campos, who scored multiple goals against the Silverbacks last season as a member of the Carolina RailHawks.
The visiting Scorpions are also strong defensively, with each member of their back line holding experience playing in MLS. Former Houston Dynamo defender Ryan Cochrane and former Toronto FC defender Kevin Harmse anchor the Scorpions’ back line, and will try to make it difficult on the Silverbacks attackers playing in front of their home crowd.
Saturday night will serve as the first game in Scorpions franchise history. It will also represent Silverbacks Head Coach Alex Pineda Chacón’s first game in charge of a professional side after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the club.
The game will be played on Special Olympics Georgia Night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, with the home team donating one dollar from every purchased back to Special Olympics Georgia.
The visitors, along with Morgan’s Wonderland, an ultra handicap-accessible family fun park in San Antonio, is involved in the night’s theme as well. Gordon Hartman, founder of Morgan’s Wonderland and owner of the San Antonio Scorpions, has purchased over 100 tickets to the season opener for Special Olympics Georgia athletes.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, and parking opens at 3 p.m. for the Silverbacks “Ultimate Tailgate Party,” which will see the group with the top tailgate take home a prize pack featuring Silverbacks tickets, merchandise, and gift cards from several of the organization’s corporate partners.
One day prior to each home game, the Silverbacks will release a digital gameday program featuring exclusive articles, interviews, and fun Silverbacks stories. To access this week's digital gameday program, click here.