ATLANTA, GA – The Atlanta Silverbacks will play the final game of a four-game road trip when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps this Wednesday, August 27th at Swangard Stadium in Canada.
The Silverbacks (8-9-8) have taken a slight tumble on the road trip, dropping three straight games, the longest losing streak of the season thus far. Vancouver (12-6-6) has continued its steady ascent to the top, just two points out of first place. The Whitecaps will continue to chase down the Puerto Rico Islanders, hoping to take the top playoff seed.
(Photo Caption: Atlanta defender Justin Moore hopes to return from an injury that kept him out of the Silverbacks’ last match. Photo by Ellen McRaney).
The road has not been kind to the Atlanta this year; while the ‘Backs are a solid 7-2-5 at home, they sport just a 1-7-3 record on the road.
The sputtering offense has been a large part of the problem on the road trip, as well as a shaky defense, as the Silverbacks have uncharacteristically scored just two goals in the past four games, while allowing eight goals as well.
Atlanta is hoping to return starters Justin Moore, Tony McManus, and Scott Buete, who missed Sunday’s match against the Montreal Impact due to injury. Atlanta will still be without Macoumba Kandji and Rodrigo Rios, who are ineligible to compete in Canadian games.
The Silverbacks will again look to forwards Aaron Paye and Jerson Monteiro to carry the load for the team offensively. Monteiro has netted three goals on the year, and Paye has been logging heavy minutes the past few matches to fill in for Kandji’s absence after mainly being used as a substitute in his time with Minnesota over the past few years.
Vancouver counters with the third-ranked defense in the league, allowing just 24 goals in 24 games. Keeper Jay Nolly ranks second in the league in wins (9) and is in the top 10 with a 1.176 GAA. Atlanta will also face former teammate Omar Jarun, who anchors the defensive unit for the Whitecaps.
Offensively, Vancouver is led by Eduardo Sebrango, who has scored 10 goals this season, good for third place in the league. In the last meeting between the teams, Sebrango scored twice in the final 20 minutes to tie, then defeat the Silverbacks.
Atlanta defender Matt Bobo played the final 17 minutes of the Silverbacks’ last match against Montreal, scoring his first goal in the past two seasons in stoppage time. David Hayes returned to the back line for Atlanta, but the defense has still allowed a league-high 44 goals on the year.
With many teams nipping on the heels of the ‘Backs for the final playoff spot, every game is crucial; all four teams at the bottom of the standings are within striking distance of the seventh spot, earning a playoff berth.
Atlanta will next return to the comforts of home on Saturday, August 30th for the regular season home finale against the Rochester Rhinos.
For tickets or more information, please call 1-866-GO-BACKS or visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com.