(Photo by Elaine Carroll) The Atlanta Silverbacks used an offensive explosion to get past the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday night, posting a 4-2 win in front of 4,090 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
The Silverbacks (4-5-11) were looking for revenge after last week’s 5-3 loss to the Strikers at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, and with assistant coach Brian Haynes on the bench in the absence of interim head coach Eric Wynalda, they were able to do just that.
The hosts started well, threatening the Strikers’ net within the first five minutes through midfielder Paulo Mendes. Just three minutes later, in the 8th minute, Paulo picked out his twin brother, Pedro, in front of the net. The brotherly duo didn’t disappoint on the play, as Pedro powered a header past Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser for a 1-0 Silverbacks lead.
The Strikers (7-6-8) fought their way back in the 26th minute on a bizarre play. Silverbacks defender Beto Navarro attempted to shield Strikers defender Scott Gordon away from the ball in front of the Silverbacks net, but the 6-4 defender fought through Navarro and tipped the ball past Silverbacks goalkeeper Daniel Illyes to tie the score at 1-1.
The home crowd didn’t have to dwell on the Strikers’ equalizer for long, as the Silverbacks would re-take the lead just three minutes later. Silverbacks defender Mike Randolph, making his team debut, crossed the ball into forward Matt Horth, who flicked a glancing header past Glaeser for a 2-1 lead. The goal was Horth’s sixth in his last eight games, and 14th overall in less than two seasons with the club.
Going along with the back-and-forth theme, the Strikers brought the game level in the 54th minute. Gordon was involved again, heading a long ball back across goal for midfielder Mark Anderson to smash into the roof of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
The Strikers were in the driver’s seat early on in the second half, and nearly scored two minutes after Anderson’s goal. A header from forward Andy Herron forced a point-blank save from Illyes to keep the game tied.
The Silverbacks would begin to take the game over in the 64th minute when midfielder Borfor Carr produced a spectacular bending effort past a diving Glaeser, making the score 3-2. In the 78th minute, it was 4-2 to the home team when Pedro fired a bullet of a shot off the post and in for his second goal of the game. The Silverbacks, who looked convincing for most of the night, closed out the game without incident, earning their fourth win of the season.
Next up for the Silverbacks are the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and the game will be played on Saturday, August 11 at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game can be seen online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live.
Atlanta Silverbacks Starting XI: Daniel Illyes- GK, Martyn Lancaster –D (Captain) (45’ – Patrick Robertson), Beto Navarro – D, Mike Randolph – D, Chris Klute - D, Paulo Mendes – M (58’ – Nico Colaluca), Borfor Carr – M, Ciaran O’Brien – M, Milton Blanco – M, Matt Horth – F (’74 – Reinaldo Navia), Pedro Mendes - F
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Starting XI: Matt Glaeser- GK, Toni Stahl - D, Conor Shanosky - D, Scott Gordon - D, Pecka – M, Walter Restrepo – M (82’ – Scott Lorenz), Emilio Orozco – M (78’ – Abe Thompson), Lance Laing – M, Mark Anderson - M, Aly Hassan – F, Andy Herron – F
Stats:Shots (ATL 12, FTL 8), Fouls (ATL 9, FTL 12), Saves (ATL 4, FTL 2), Corners (ATL 3, FTL 3)