The Atlanta Silverbacks are on the road for the second consecutive weekend, this time heading north of the border to visit FC Edmonton at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Clarke Stadium.
The Silverbacks are still in search of their third win of the season after playing to a 2-2 draw against the San Antonio Scorpions last Saturday at Toyota Field. All four of the games goals came within the first 30 minutes, with midfielder Richie Menjivar and forward Pedro Mendes each finding the net for the Silverbacks.
Although Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes and his team felt they could have escaped San Antonio with three points, a draw wasn’t a bad result under the circumstances. All three league games last weekend ended as draws, meaning the Silverbacks kept pace with the leaders. Haynes’ team sits only one point behind league leaders Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota, putting them in prime position to make a move in the standings this weekend.
Strong performances by Mendes and midfielder Danny Barrera earned them spots among the league leaders in the categories of goals and assists respectively. Mendes is tied with teammate Ruben Luna, among others, for the league lead in goals with three, while Barrera’s two assists put him in second alongside teammate Milton Blanco.
The Silverbacks have scored 11 goals in their first four games this season, the most of any team in the NASL. With 6 of those goals coming on the road, they will hope to increase their tally against a FC Edmonton defense that has yet to surrender a goal at home this season.
Returning from their own road trip, FC Edmonton comes into Sunday’s matchup on the heels of a 1-1 draw against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Field. Head Coach Colin Miller’s club found themselves down 1-0 in the first half, but managed to grab the equalizer in the 35th minute thanks to a low shot by midfielder Shaun Saiko. Going into NASL play this weekend, Saiko leads the league in shots with 16.
It’s a new look roster this year for FC Edmonton, with very few players from last year’s team returning in 2013. Saiko, along with goalkeeper Lance Parker and forward Michael Cox, remains a staple in the team’s lineup, but he is joined by plenty of newcomers including former Minnesota Stars midfielder Neil Hlavaty, on-loan Vancouver Whitecaps defender Carlyle Mitchell, and former RailHawks midfielder Chris Nurse.
FC Edmonton has been busier than most NASL teams this season, playing a pair of games in the Amway Canadian Championship – both losses to the Whitecaps. Despite playing seven games so far, Sunday’s matchup with the Silverbacks will be only their second at Clarke Stadium. The team has recently started to find their footing, taking four points from their last two games following a dismal 0-1-2 start to the NASL season.
The Silverbacks enjoyed visiting Clarke Stadium last season, taking six points back to Atlanta with them after 2-1 and 2-0 wins. FC Edmonton won both of their games in Atlanta last year, though, making the series an even split in 2012.
The Silverbacks and FC Edmonton will kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday at Clarke Stadium. The match can been seen live online at atlantasilverbacksfc.com and if fans want to get together to watch the match, the Silverbacks will be hosting a watch party at the Elder Tree Public House in the East Atlanta Village. For more information on the Elder Tree Public House, visit eldertreeatl.com.