The Atlanta Silverbacks will look for their third straight win this Saturday when they host FC Edmonton at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
The Silverbacks just leapfrogged their Canadian opponents in the standings last week after earning a 2-1 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders. Only one point separates the Silverbacks and FC Edmonton in the standings, making Saturday’s matchup an important one for both sides.
FC Edmonton will be looking to get back on track after going winless in their last six games. Head Coach Harry Sinkgraven’s side is coming off a frustrating home loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. A red card to Rowdies midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake in the 32nd minute gave FC Edmonton a one-man advantage for over 60 minutes, but the Eddies failed to capitalize on it. The Rowdies would eventually find a winner in the final minutes of the game, handing the hosts a heartbreaking 1-0 loss at Clarke Stadium.
Midfielder Shaun Saiko continues to be FC Edmonton’s leader. A product of English side Middlesbrough’s youth system, Saiko is picking up right where he left off as a rookie for FC Edmonton last season. The 22-year-old Alberta native has tallied five goals and four assists in 2012, including a hat-trick performance against the Carolina RailHawks in May.
The Silverbacks have firmed up their defense since the appointment of interim head coach Eric Wynalda. The team has only conceded one goal in their last two games after starting the season with the most pourous back line in the league. It won’t hurt that they’ll be facing the least productive attack in the league. Before forward Kyle Porter’s goal against Puerto Rico on July 7, the Eddies had gone 436 minutes without scoring. They have scored a league-low 13 goals and have been held scoreless nine times this season.
Wynalda’s presence has also propelled the Silverbacks’ attack. In the four games prior to his arrival, the Silverbacks scored one goal. In the three games since his hire, the Silverbacks have tallied five goals, helping them earn six points. One player who has taken off recently is forward Matt Horth, who has scored four goals in his last five games. The 6-foot-3 forward has thrived under Wynalda, especially when paired with rookie forward Jahbari Willis. The duo will try to cause problems for a FC Edmonton defense that will be without defender Kevin Hatchi, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
The last time these two teams met was on June 3, and it was the Silverbacks leaving Clarke Stadium with a 2-1 win, which was their first of the season. Midfielder Ciaran O’Brien and defender Shane Moroney netted goals for the Silverbacks, while Hatchi was the goalscorer for FC Edmonton.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, and tickets are still available. To purchase tickets, call 404-969-4900 or visit atlantasilverbacks.com.