Less than a week after earning their first win of the season in Edmonton, the Atlanta Silverbacks will travel to Heroes Stadium in San Antonio to take on the Scorpions at 8:45 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
The Silverbacks (1-5-4) will try to take advantage of a Scorpions team that has played four games since May 27. The Scorpions (4-4-1), who were just knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night by USL Pro side Charlotte Eagles, could be tired after all of their recent league and Cup action.
Tired or not, the Scorpions, playing in their first NASL season, have opened their maiden campaign in impressive fashion. Before falling to the Eagles, 2-1, at home on Tuesday night, the Scorpions enjoyed a nine-game unbeaten streak between the league and the U.S. Open Cup.
For the Silverbacks, they’re looking to close out their four-game road trip with a win after earning four points in their previous two league games in Fort Lauderdale and Edmonton. A second-half equalizer from forward Reinaldo Navia gave the Silverbacks a 1-1 draw against the Strikers on May 26, while goals from midfielder Ciaran O’Brien and defender Shane Moroney proved to be enough to see off FC Edmonton last Sunday at Clarke Stadium.
Despite earning three points against FC Edmonton in their last game, the Silverbacks continue to be plagued by red cards. Defender and team captain Martyn Lancaster will miss out on Saturday’s game after being sent off for the second time this season in Edmonton. It was the Silverbacks’ seventh red card in their first 10 games, meaning the team has had to field a different back line in nearly every game this season.
The Silverbacks have conceded a league-high 20 goals this season, while the Scorpions have given up just half that amount. The Silverbacks’ back line is boosted by the return of defender Kohei Matsushita, who put in a full 90-minute shift on Sunday for the first time since the second week of the season.
Matsushita and the rest of the Silverbacks defense will have to deal with the ever-dangerous Pablo Campos. The 6-foot-3 forward leads the Scorpions with three league goals this season, and he recently tallied another in the team’s U.S. Open Cup loss against the Eagles. The Brazilian is joined in the attack by Dutch forward Hans Denissen, who impressed in the Scorpions’ season opener against the Silverbacks on April 9 in Atlanta.
The Silverbacks will look to get more from the duo of O’Brien and Moroney on Saturday, as the two players have connected for a pair of goals in the last three games. As a defender, Moroney has scored three goals in his last three games, while O’Brien, last week’s NASL Offensive Player of the Week, continues to show how dangerous he is on set pieces.
Saturday’s matchup is a big one for the Silverbacks as they try to continue the momentum from their recent improved play. With their first win last week, the Silverbacks managed to pull even with the Carolina RailHawks and FC Edmonton in the NASL standings. Another three points would put Head Coach Alex Pineda Chacón’s side right back into the mix among the majority of the league’s teams.
The Silverbacks and Scorpions last met in the season opener on April 9 in Atlanta, a game that ended in a scoreless draw.
Saturday’s game in San Antonio kicks off at 8:45 p.m. ET and can be seen live online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live.