The Silverbacks return home to Atlanta for a two-game homestand on Saturday, welcoming the Tampa Bay Rowdies to Atlanta Silverbacks Park for the first time this season.
The two teams involved in Saturday’s contest, which is presented by The Microsoft Store, are coming off two very different results, with the Silverbacks (0-2-0) playing to a thrilling 4-4 draw against the Carolina RailHawks and the Rowdies (1-0-1) earning a slim 1-0 win over FC Edmonton.
After failing to find the net in the season opener against San Antonio, the Silverbacks tallied four goals last Saturday at WakeMed Soccer Park thanks to forward Reinaldo Navia (two), midfielder Raphael Cox and defender Willie Hunt. Unfortunately for the Silverbacks, a red card was shown to Hunt with 15 minutes to go, allowing the RailHawks to push forward and eventually find an equalizer to clinch a share of the points.
In the Rowdies’ home opener last weekend, a goal in the 20th minute from Japanese defender Takuya Yamada proved to be enough against a FC Edmonton side that forced Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella into eight saves.
For the Silverbacks, they’ll have to face the consequences of last Saturday’s wild affair in Carolina. Red cards to Hunt and forward Nico Colaluca mean the home team will be without the duo for one game, forcing others to step up in their absence this weekend.
If their four-goal performance is any indication, the Silverbacks may have found their offensive catalyst in Chilean forward Reinaldo Navia, who scored twice in his first start for the club against Carolina. The Silverbacks will need another big game from him, as they still await the return of last season’s top scorer, Matt Horth, from injury.
Unlike the Silverbacks, the Rowdies haven’t had much luck finding the net so far this season, but a steady defensive unit has them sitting in third place through two games. After falling to the Puerto Rico Islanders, 1-0, in the season opener, they were able to get on the positive end of that same result against FC Edmonton last time out.
Despite scoring just one goal in two games, the Rowdies have fired off 25 shots, led by forward Luke Mulholland, who has a total of 11 already this season. Silverbacks goalkeeper Daniel Illyes will look to duplicate the shutout he achieved in the team’s season opener, and forget about the four goals he conceded in Carolina.
The Rowdies, no longer playing under the “FC Tampa Bay” name that was used last season, won two of their four games against the Silverbacks in 2011. The Silverbacks did, however, win one of the matchups against Ricky Hill’s side last season, defeating them, 2-1, at Atlanta Silverbacks Park in July.
Saturday’s game, which is also Youth Soccer Night, will kickoff at 7:30 p.m., with the stadium opening at 3 p.m. for parking and tailgating. To purchase tickets, visit atlantasilverbacks.com or call 404-969-4900. To access this week's digital gameday program, click here.