The Atlanta Silverbacks lost 2-1 in stoppage time to the Montreal Impact tonight at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. The loss broke Atlanta’s eight-game home unbeaten streak, and grants Montreal the title of the only remaining team in the USL First Division with an unbeaten record at home. The referee took center stage in the match; awarding two penalty kicks, five cautions, and 34 fouls. Atlanta received the brunt of the referee’s calls – Atlanta had 26 fouls called against them while Montreal had only eight fouls called against them.
"I don't think we played great tonight but I thought we played well enough to walk away with a draw and I was disappointed in the result. I hope we can get back on track against Minnesota," commented head coach Jason Smith.
The first half saw good chances for both sides, but the solid play of both keepers kept the game scoreless for the entire half. The Impact lost starting defender, Gabriel Gervais, in the 9th minute and other injuries for Montreal disrupted play throughout the half. The physical play from both sides created an intense game with ten fouls called against Atlanta and four fouls called against Montreal. The Silverbacks had their best chance in the 36th minute when David Hayes sent a free kick into the box; Rodrigo Rios took a shot on an open goal but a Montreal defender was able to get a foot in front of the shot and save the goal. Montreal had a corner kick in the 43rd minute but could not convert, and the half ended 0-0.
The referee took the spotlight in the second half and gave fans lots of reasons to get rowdy. In the 54th minute the referee awarded two yellow cards to the Impact and a penalty kick to the Silverbacks. The first yellow card was given to Adam Braz after some rough play in the box and the second was given to Nevio Pizzolitto after he argued the call. Hayes converted the penalty kick for Atlanta, beating Andrew Weber to the left, and gave the Silverbacks the lead. The deciding play of the match came in the 79th minute when Joe Afful tackled Mauricio Salles. Despite the perfectly clean tackle, Salles dove to the ground and the only person in the stadium (not from Canada) to see the play as a foul, had the power to change the game. The referee gave Afful a yellow card and Montreal a penalty kick. Salles converted the ensuing kick; after the play Felipe Quintero got a yellow card for defending his goal from the unsportsmanlike conduct of Salles. At the end of regulation the referee announced four minutes of stoppage time. The additional time was just enough for Montreal to score. The Impact took the win in stoppage time when Mauro Biello scored a goal off a corner kick from Leonardo Di Lorenzo that was deflected by Pizzolitto. The referee called the game less than a minute later.
The Silverbacks will play on the road against the Minnesota Thunder on Sunday, June 30. The team will return home to host the Toronto Lynx next Friday, August 4th at 7:30 pm at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. The first 500 fans will receive 2006 Team Posters and all season ticket holders are invited to a meet-and-greet with the players after the match. The Silverbacks invite season ticket holders to bring memorabilia to have signed at the event which will be catered by Sweet Tomatoes. For ticket information to see the Silverbacks take on Toronto, call 1-866-GO-BACKS or visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com.
Atlanta’s starters: Felipe Quintero, Matt Bobo, Omar Jarun, David Hayes, Joe Afful, Tony McManus (Alex Pineda-Chacon - 86), Rodrigo Rios (Marlon Rojas – 72), Josh Smith (Fabian Dawkins – 81), Scott Buete, Warren Ukah (Liam George - 70), Jason McLaughlin (Adilson DeLima - 90).
Cautions: Afful - 78; Quintero - 80; George - 90
Goals: Hayes – 55 (PK)
Montreal’s starters: Andrew Weber, Gabriel Gervais (Kirk Wilson - 8) (Massahiro Fukasawa – 82), Nevio Pizzolito, Adam Braz, Mauricio Vincello, Pat Leduc (Antonio Ribeiro – 63), Lars Lyssand, Mesut Mert, Leonardo Di Lorenzo, Joel Bailey (Mauro Biello – 45), Massimo Di Ioia (Mauricio Salles - 45).
Cautions: Braz – 53; Pizzolito - 53
Goals: Salles – 78 (PK); Biello – 90 (Pizzalitto)
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