With the 2012 NASL season-opening week in the rearview mirror, the Atlanta Silverbacks will take to the road, visiting the Carolina RailHawks on Saturday night at 7 p.m at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Silverbacks (0-1-0) will look to improve on their opening night result, which was a scoreless draw against the league’s newest team, the San Antonio Scorpions. The RailHawks (0-1-0) managed the same result against the NASL’s defending champions, Minnesota Stars FC, playing in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.
The RailHawks were tough on the Silverbacks in 2011, winning all four contests on their way to a first-place regular season finish. Quite a bit has changed for the RailHawks since last season, with the club losing their coach, Martin Rennie, and five players to Major League Soccer during the offseason.
Plenty has changed for the Silverbacks too, as the club welcomed nine newcomers to the squad ahead of the 2012 season. One of the new faces in the team’s lineup is Honduran international Danilo Turcios, who was lively in the attacking half during the season opener on April 7.
Another player that stood out against the Scorpions was goalkeeper Daniel Illyes, who moved to the Silverbacks from the Hungarian professional ranks in 2012. He was forced into a few difficult saves last weekend, and should expect more of the same against the RailHawks. Forwards Jason Garey, formerly of the Columbus Crew, and Brian Shriver, top scorer for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last season, will try to put pressure on Illyes and the rest of the Silverbacks defense on Saturday night.
Opposite of Illyes is RailHawks goalkeeper Ray Burse, who was named NASL Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. The former Puerto Rico Islanders goalkeeper withstood an offensive onslaught from the Stars in the opening game, recording a shutout to start the season.
The Silverbacks will be without a pair of crucial offensive players on Saturday, as forwards Matt Horth and Stephen Ademolu are still unavailable to head coach Alex Pineda Chacón. The team hopes Chilean forward Reinaldo Navia, who played 14 minutes as a substitute against the Scorpions, will be able to play more minutes this weekend.
The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and can be seen live online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live. Following the trip to Carolina, the Silverbacks will return home for a two-game homestand, beginning with their contest against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on April 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. To purchase tickets, visit atlantasilverbacks.com or call 404-969-4900