Edmonton, Alberta (August 18, 2013) – The Atlanta Silverbacks battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw against FC Edmonton on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.
Silverbacks midfielder Horace James tallied his first goal with the club early in the second half, but an equalizer from FC Edmonton midfielder Chris Nurse gave the hosts a share of the points.
The Silverbacks featured a slightly different squad from the one that head coach Brian Haynes named against the Carolina RailHawks the week before. Midfielders Pablo Cruz and Richie Menjivar were drafted back into the Silverbacks’ starting lineup, while defender Martyn Lancaster and midfielder Borfor Carr missed the trip due to injuries.
The opening minutes were full of good movement from both sides, with the Silverbacks creating the game’s first real scoring opportunity in the 11th minute. Midfielder Danny Barrera played a short corner kick to Menjivar, who fired a 20-yard shot that FC Edmonton goalkeeper Lance Parker could only tip over the crossbar.
Six minutes later, the ball ended up in the Silverbacks’ net following a header from FC Edmonton forward Corey Hertzog, but the on-loan Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder was adjudged to be offsides, nullifying the goal.
While the Silverbacks controlled the majority of the possession throughout the first half, FC Edmonton had the better of the scoring chances. In the 29th minute, Hertzog laid the ball off to midfielder Shaun Saiko, who forced Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco into a huge save with an effort from 12 yards out.
FC Edmonton came even closer to opening the scoring in the 39th minute, but it wouldn’t have been by their own doing. A mishit corner kick bounced off Menjivar’s shoulder and headed towards the goal, but Barrera was there to head the ball off the goal line at the very last moment to keep the game scoreless.
Despite carrying the momentum into the locker room at halftime, FC Edmonton would find themselves down almost immediately in the second half. Barrera picked out James’ run in behind the FC Edmonton defense, and the Jamaican made no mistake, chesting the ball down and finishing past Parker to give the Silverbacks a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute.
The home team wasn’t about to go down easy, however. In the 69th minute, FC Edmonton got the goal that they probably deserved, with Nurse heading home a cross from midfielder Neil Hlavaty to make it 1-1.
The equalizer gave the home team confidence, and if not for some goal line heroics from Silverbacks defender Mike Randolph, FC Edmonton would have taken the lead. Substitute forward Michael Cox saw a rebound fall right in front of him just four yards from the goal, but Randolph slid in from nowhere to kick the ball away at the last moment. The rebound came after a shot from Hertzog forced a diving save from Nasco.
The Silverbacks were still full of life in the attack, and in the 74th minute, James nearly bagged his second goal of the game. Menjivar played James through on goal, but his shot was parried away by Parker and the rebound somehow escaped a pair of onrushing Silverbacks players.
Each team’s back line stepped up in the final minutes of the game, denying any real chances from the opposing attack. The one blemish on an uneventful end to the game was an injury to Hertzog, who was taken off on a stretcher with an apparent hip injury.
The point earned on Sunday afternoon brings the Silverbacks even with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the standings. Both teams trail the league-leading Carolina RailHawks by two points after three NASL Fall Season games.
The Silverbacks return home to Atlanta on Saturday to host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. To purchase tickets, call 404-969-4900 or visit atlantasilverbacksfc.com.
SILVERBACKS Xl: GK Nasco, D Randolph, D Reiss, D Navarro, D Hunt (Stisser – 59’), M Menjivar, M Cruz (Gulley – 68’), M Blanco, M James; F Mendes, F Barrera (Moroney - 74’)
FC EDMONTON Xl: GK Parker, D Edward, D Watson, D Roberts (Proctor – 84’), D Laing, M Hlavaty, M Nurse, M Saiko (Fordyce – 60’), M Garrett, F Adur (Cox – 55’), F Hertzog