The Atlanta Silverbacks fell 2-1 tonight to the Carolina RailHawks at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium in a cut-throat battle that lasted the entire 90 minutes. Tonight’s match has undoubtedly created a lasting rivalry.
"We started off slow, but we played better as the match progressed. I thought through the course of the match that we were the better team," commented Head Coach Jason Smith. "We can't afford to give up any early goals and we needed to finish. We had the chances, but it's hard to come back from an 2-0 deficit."
The evening’s charades began just nine minutes into the game when the referee awarded the RailHawks a penalty kick after calling a hand ball in the box. Unfortunately for the Silverbacks, a ball sent in by the RailHawks lodged between Tony McManus and Angel Rivillo at arm level and the ref called it an infraction. Kupono Low finished the opportunity for the RailHawks, scoring the team’s second goal of the season. The ‘Backs shook off the PK and began combining well, creating chances, and keeping possession. But the RailHawks struck again in the 28th minute. Chad Dombrowski collected a rebound at the top of the 18-yard-box and sent a shot sailing past Felipe Quintero. The animosity that has been building between the two teams over the past three weeks reached a boiling point tonight in the 38th minute. Scott Buete was taken down in a rough tackle and a scuffle between both teams ensued including a 80-yard dash by the RailHawks’ goalkeeper to put in his two cents – Buete received a yellow card. The Silverbacks got on the scoreboard in the 43rd minute when Daniel Antoniuk laid the ball off to Justin Moore who finished his second goal of the season. The half ended 2-1 in favor of the RailHawks.
The second half was much like the first with lots of intensity and physical play from both sides. The Silverbacks had numerous great chances and near goals, but they were unable to put anymore in the back of the net. Having Machel Millwood may have helped the Silverbacks find the back of the net, but Millwood did not dress due to a slight knee injury (he is expected to play next week). The RailHawks lost David Stokes in the 61st minute after he received his second yellow card and was ejected from the match. David Hayes was taken down in the box in the 80th minute but the ref deemed it as a clean play, just one of the many game changing moments left in the hands of the center official. The referee played quite a role in tonight’s match – aside from the questionable penalty kick, he issued one red card, six yellow cards, and 28 fouls while struggling to keep control over the game.
The Silverbacks had many chances in the mere three minutes of stoppage time, but the team was unable to convert. The Silverbacks took their first loss on the season, while the RailHawks gained their first win.
The Silverbacks next match is Friday, May 18 in Puerto Rico. The 'Backs will go on a three-game road trip before returning to play at home on Saturday, June 2 against Miami FC.
Atlanta’s starters: Felipe Quintero, David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Tony McManus (Kevin Barrow – 70), Omar Jarun, Scott Buete, Justin Moore, Dayton O’Brien, Angel Rivillo (John Queeley – 76), Daniel Antoniuk, Rodrigo Rios.
Goals: Moore – 43 (Antoniuk)
Cautions: Buete – 39; Hayes – 82; Bobo - 84
Carolina’s starers: Chris McClellan, David Stokes, Chad Dombrowksi, Caleb Norkus,
Frankie Sanfilippo, Kupono Low, Chris Carrieri (Sola Abolaji – 63), Joey Worthen, Stuart Brightwell (Santiago Fusilier – 66), Connally Edozien, Anthony Maher (Kevin Jeffrey – 90).
Goals: Low – 9 (PK); Dombrowski - 28
Cautions: Stokes – 52 (62); Low – 55; Maher - 81
Ejections: Stokes - 62
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