After a disappointing home loss to FC Edmonton last weekend, the Atlanta Silverbacks head to Fort Lauderdale on Friday night to take on the Strikers at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium.
Going into last weekend’s contest, it looked as if the Silverbacks were starting to gain some momentum under new interim head coach Eric Wynalda, but a tough FC Edmonton side grabbed two goals in a matter of three minutes in the second half, giving them just enough to escape Atlanta with a 2-1 win and all three points.
Although the result wasn’t what the Silverbacks were looking for, the team’s performance was very strong at times. Attacking players such as Ciaran O’Brien, Borfor Carr, and Matt Horth continued to create numerous scoring chances, and outside of a few goals against the run of play, the Silverbacks dominated the possession and dictated the pace of the game.
The Strikers are also coming off of a loss, a 1-0 defeat against the San Antonio Scorpions at Heroes Stadium. The modest scoreline didn’t tell the whole story, as the game featured a pair of red cards, one to forward Andy Herron of the Strikers and another to midfielder Kevin Harmse of the Scorpions. Herron’s red card, which came in the 35th minute, hurt his team the most, as the Scorpions went on to score with a one-man advantage through Walter Ramirez.
The Silverbacks are lucky to avoid the attacking presence of Herron for the second time this season. In their first matchup against the Strikers, Herron was out injured, handing the Silverbacks a huge break. The former Chicago Fire striker has been outstanding this season for the Strikers, totaling seven goals despite missing significant time due to injury.
The Strikers will also be without Mexican forward “Polo” Morales, who suffered a horrific leg injury just weeks ago, putting him out for the rest of the season. A player that has emerged in his absence is midfielder Mark Anderson, who has been on a scoring tear this season. The rookie from England has tallied the second-most goals in the NASL this season with nine, and has come up with several big goals to earn his team critical points within the league.
In addition to Anderson, midfielder Walter Restrepo has been a crucial part of Daryl Shore’s squad in 2012. Restrepo is currently tied for second in the league in assists with six.
The Silverbacks, who are 2-0-2 under Wynalda, have played the Strikers at Lockhart Stadium once this season, leaving with a point after a 1-1 tie. The two teams will get to know each other very well over the next two weeks, as the Strikers head to Atlanta on August 4 to play the Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
Friday’s game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium, and as always, the game can be seen live online at atlantasilverbacks.com/live.