(Photo by W.J. Walsh) The Atlanta Silverbacks came up short against the second-place Puerto Rico Islanders, 2-1, Saturday night in front of 5,000 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
The home team got off to a bright start in front of another sellout crowd, with forward Matt Horth coming close on a pair of opportunities in the opening 10 minutes. Horth headed a ball off the post, and followed by putting another into the net, but both plays were negated by late whistles for offsides.
Against the run of play, the Islanders (7-2-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from forward Nicholas Addlery in the 15th minute. Midfielder Yaw Danso burst through the midfield, and ended up receiving a return pass, which he directed towards Addlery for the goal.
The Silverbacks (1-5-7) continued to chip away at the visiting defense, and in the 35th minute, they brought the score level. Based on his first-half play, it was no surprise that Horth was the one to find the back of the net. Midfielder Danilo Turcios played a weighted pass into the box towards Horth, who ran onto it and buried it into the far corner past a helpless Cody Laurendi.
The two teams came out of the locker room at halftime even at 1-1, but it was the Silverbacks taking the initiative early in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Turcios again fed Horth, who had his half-volley punched away by Laurendi. The Islanders goalkeeper was called on again in the 69th minute, this time by Silverbacks midfielder Borfor Carr, but he was up to the task, blocking the Liberian’s effort out of bounds for a corner kick.
The Islanders were boosted by the second-half introduction of forward David Foley, who immediately had an impact on the game after replacing Danso. In the 70th minute, the Englishman’s long pass over the top of the Silverbacks defense found Addlery, who dribbled in on goal to beat Silverbacks goalkeeper Daniel Illyes with a low shot to make it 2-1.
After Foley forced an impressive save from Illyes in the 83rd minute, the Silverbacks began their push for an equalizer. Defender Jose Burciaga, Jr. came closest to tying the game for the home team in the 90th minute, but his shot from over 25 yards flashed just wide of Laurendi’s far post.
The Silverbacks will now prepare for a three-game road trip that includes stops in San Antonio, Carolina, and Minnesota. The San Antonio Scorpions are first up for the Silverbacks on June 30. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen live online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live.
Atlanta Silverbacks Starting XI: Daniel Illyes- GK, Martyn Lancaster –D (Captain), Patrick Robertson – D, Andrew Duran – D (Moroney, 79’), Jose Burciaga, Jr. - D, Tony McManus – M (O’Brien, 78’), Fernando Gonzalez - M, Danilo Turcios – M (Colaluca, 85’), Raphael Cox – M, Borfor Carr – F, Matt Horth – F
Puerto Rico Islanders Starting XI: Cody Laurendi- GK, Alexis Rivera–D, Richard Martinez - D, Anthony Vazquez - D, Jay Needham – D, Yaw Danso – M (David Foley, 64’) Tyler Wilson – M (Osei Telesford, 61’), Noah Delgado – M, Jared Van Schaik - M, Hector Ramos – F (Justin Fojo, 71’), Nicholas Addlery – F
Stats:Shots (ATL 12. PRI 12), Fouls (ATL 8. PRI 8), Saves (ATL 2. PRI 5), Corners (ATL 5. PRI 6)