The Atlanta Silverbacks tied the Montreal Impact 2-2 in their home opener Saturday night at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. Newcomer Daniel Antoniuk put away both the Silverbacks’ goals against his former teammates at Montreal (the Silverbacks acquired Antoniuk in a trade with Montreal during the off-season). Despite Antoniuk’s pair of goals, the Silverbacks gave up the 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes remaining in the match.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t hang on and get the win, but I’ll take the tie - especially against a team like Montreal that is on the top of the table every year. I thought we played well enough to win tonight, but it’s our first game and we’re only going to improve from this point forward,” commented head coach Jason Smith.
The Silverbacks sought revenge on the Impact after losing to the Canadian franchise twice during the 2006 season. The trade that involved Antoniuk also put Silverbacks’ lformer leading scorer Fabian Dawkins in a Montreal uniform – Dawkins played 55 minutes for the Impact tonight.
The Silverbacks came out early in the match and let the home opener crowd of 2,320 know the team was not going to take another loss at the hands of the Impact. In the 15th minute, David Hayes sent a free kick into the box; Antoniuk collected the ball in front of the goal and sent it past Montreal’s goalkeeper, Matt Jordan. The rest of the half remained close in action and both teams headed into the locker room with a 1-0 score in favor of the home team.
Silverbacks’ goalkeeper Felipe Quintero thwarted a serious threat from the Impact in the 56th minute with an amazing leaping save. The Silverbacks added to their lead in the 62nd minute with another goal by Antoniuk. Rodrigo Rios sent a corner kick in for the Silverbacks; Machel Millwood kept it alive with a header and flicked it further in front of the goal; Antoniuk chest trapped the ball down and volleyed it into the net – putting the Silverbacks up 2-0. With just 15 minutes left in the game Montreal made their comeback – Patrick Leduc sent a ball in for the Impact and connected with Matt Palleschi who scored Montreal’s first goal of the night. In a scene reminiscent of the Impact’s last match at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium, the visitors put away a goal in the final minutes of the game. Montreal tied the game in the 88th minute with a goal by Leonardo Di Lorenzo, only this time Di Lorenzo’s goal gave Montreal the tie, not the win. The Silverbacks had several close calls during stoppage time, but were unable to score again and the match ended in a 2-2 tie.
Atlanta’s next match is this Friday, April 27 at 7:55 pm against the Minnesota Thunder. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will get a 2007 schedule magnet. For ticket information call 1-866-GO-BACKS or visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com.
Atlanta’s starters: Felipe Quintero, Matt Bobo, Omar Jarun, David Hayes (Luis Liendo – 79), Tony McManus, Rodrigo Rios (Dayton O’Brien – 73), Scott Buete, Angel Rivillo, Justin Moore (Rafique Hassim), Daniel Antoniuk (Warren Ukah – 87), Machel Millwood.
Goals: Antoniuk – 15 (Hayes); Antoniuk – 62 (Millwood)
Cautions: McManus – 10; Millwood – 67; Liendo – 80; Rivillo – 87; Ukah - 90
Montreal’s starters: Matt Jordan, Gabriel Gervais, Andreas Arango, Mauricio Vincello, David Fronimadis, Patrick Leduc, Leonardo Di Lorenzo, Mauro Biello, Fabro Martin, Fabian Dawkins (Gbeke – 55), Frederico Moojen.
Goals: Palleschi – 75 (Leduc); Di Lorenzo - 88
Cautions: Moojen – 30; Biello – 45; Gervais – 76; Palleschi – 85
© Atlanta Silverbacks 2007 – All Rights Reserved.