The Atlanta Silverbacks travel to South Florida this Saturday to take on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
The Silverbacks and Strikers will each look to parlay their midweek success in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup with a win on Saturday night. The Silverbacks topped NPSL side Georgia Revolution, 1-0, while the Strikers disposed of PDL side Fresno Fuego, 7-2.
Still in search of their first league win of the season, the Silverbacks will look to draw on their 2011 road performances at Lockhart Stadium. The team gathered four points in two games in Fort Lauderdale last season, including a 3-2 win over the Strikers on July 9.
The Strikers are led by rookie forward Aly Hassan, who has emerged in the absence of the injured Andy Herron. Coming out of Nova Southeastern University, Hassan has notched a pair of hat-tricks early in his first professional season, one coming in the league against the Puerto Rico Islanders on April 25 and the other coming Tuesday night against Fresno Fuego.
Midfielder Walter Restrepo has also been a key player for the Strikers, totaling two goals and four assists in the team’s first eight games. Players like Hassan and Restrepo will throw their offensive firepower at a Silverbacks defense that has given up a league-high 18 goals.
The arrival of defender José Burciaga, Jr. is a boost for the Silverbacks back line, though, with the eight-year MLS veteran playing in his first game for the Silverbacks last Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup. A former MLS Best XI selection, Burciaga Jr. adds experience and size to the Silverbacks roster as they try to get rolling in 2012.
The Silverbacks will also benefit from the return of midfielder Nico Colaluca and defender Martyn Lancaster from red card suspensions. Lancaster, who played for the Strikers last season, comes back into the fold after missing the last league game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while Colaluca officially returns after a lengthy suspension stemming from an incident in Carolina on April 14.
Each team could use a win on Saturday night, with the Strikers and Silverbacks both coming in winless in their last four league games. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium and the game can be seen live online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live.