With a matchup against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers coming up on Saturday night, the Silverbacks return home from a successful two-game road trip that featured a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton and a 1-1 draw against the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Saturday night’s game, which will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, unfortunately has no bearing on the playoff picture for the Silverbacks, who were officially eliminated from contention with Minnesota Stars FC’s win earlier this week. The Strikers have already clinched a playoff spot, but can edge closer to a higher seed with a win, as they are currently tied in points with the Carolina RailHawks.
While the game doesn’t have playoff implications for the Silverbacks, the team will try to avoid finishing in last place for the second consecutive season. The Silverbacks are currently one point behind seventh-place FC Edmonton, but have a game in hand.
The Silverbacks will look to finish on a high note after posting a much-improved record for the second half of the season. The team is 4-3-4 since the new coaching staff took over, and has only conceded two goals in the last five games. A bright spot this season has been the play of forward Matt Horth, whose nine goals leads the team and puts him in a tie for fifth in the league in scoring.
Although the Strikers have booked their spot in the playoffs, they haven’t been convincing in their last two performances. They followed up a 3-0 home loss to the Rowdies with a 1-1 draw against the Puerto Rico Islanders at Lockhart Stadium last week. The Strikers will be boosted by the return of midfielder Michael Tetteh, who just finished serving a two-game suspension. The Ghana native is with the Strikers on loan from MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC.
The Silverbacks came out on top the last time these two teams met, earning a convincing 4-2 win at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Silverbacks forward Pedro Mendes tallied a pair of goals in the game, and went on to earn NASL Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Silverbacks following Saturday’s game, as they get set to host the league-leading San Antonio Scorpions on Wednesday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. The game will be the Silverbacks last at home this season before officially closing out their regular season schedule on Saturday, September 22 in Puerto Rico.