The Atlanta Silverbacks had two shots go off the post in their 2-1 loss tonight to the Rochester Raging Rhinos for the final regular season home match at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. The loss takes the Silverbacks’ record to 9-11-5, but the team remains in the playoff hunt.
"I’m always disappointed with a loss, but I thought we hustled more than we have in recent games and I’m happy with the effort. We had plenty of chances to win the game and it was close all the way to the end," commented Head Coach Jason Smith.
The Silverbacks started the game with an offensive line-up with speed and power upfront in the form of Warren Ukah and Machel Millwood. Both teams played a tight game with lots of action in the middle third of the field. The Silverbacks took the lead in the 30th minute when Rodrigo Rios sent a perfect ball through the Rochester defense to an onrushing Ukah. Ukah broke free with ease and found himself in a one-on-one versus keeper Scott Vallow; Ukah stayed calm and slotted the ball past Vallow to put the ‘Backs up 1-0. Atlanta controlled the game for the remainder of the half. The home team had a great chance to double their lead in the 43rd minute – the referee awarded the home team a penalty kick after David Hayes was pulled down in the box. Millwood took the kick, but it hit the right post and bounced out of the penalty area. The half ended with the Silverbacks leading 1-0.
The Rhinos dominated play early in the second half and evened the score just three minutes into the half. Former Silverback John Ball assisted Chris Bagley who slotted the ball past Felipe Quintero. The Rhinos went ahead just six minutes later in the 54th minute when Kenney Bertz headed the ball into the net off a cross from Johnny Steele. Play became incredibly physical at that point and remained that way for the rest of the game. The Silverbacks had an excellent chance in the 84th minute – Scott Buete sent a ball deep into the right flank; Jason McLaughlin sprang free, collected the ball, and chipped it into the six-yard box; Alex Pineda-Chacon got a shot off but it hit the cross bar and skipped over the goal. The Silverbacks continued to pound the Rhinos’ defense during the final minutes and despite many close calls, Atlanta was unable to tie the game.
The Silverbacks remain in the playoff hunt, but will have to finish out their season with a three-game road trip to the west coast. The Silverbacks will take on the Portland Timbers, the Seattle Sounders, and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com to keep up with the Silverbacks and their quest for the 2006 playoffs.
Atlanta’s starters: Felipe Quintero, Omar Jarun (Maurice Hughes – 90), Matt Bobo, David Hayes, Antonio De La Torre (Joe Afful – 85), Rodrigo Rios (Alex Pineda-Chacon – 78), Tony McManus, Josh Smith (Jason McLaughlin – 72), Scott Buete, Machel Millwood, Warren Ukah.
Cautions: Ukah – 56; Rios – 77; De La Torre - 79
Goals: Ukah – 30 (Rios)
Rochester’s starters: Scott Vallow, Ricky Lewis (Frankie Sanfilippo – 45), Kenney Bertz, Tenywa Bonseu, Scott Palguta, Mike Ambersley (Aaran Lines – 80), John Ball, Josh Bolton, Johnny Steele, Chris Bagley (Greg Howes – 73), Charles Gbeke (Matthew Delicate – 63).
Cautions: Lewis – 43; Gbeke – 61; Delicate - 84
Goals: Bagley – 48 (Ball); Bertz – 54 (Steele)
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