The Atlanta Silverbacks fell 2-1 to the legendary Cruz Azul tonight at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of 4,050 fans. In the first ever Copa Amistad TM (Friendship Cup), Cruz Azul came back from a 1-0 deficit to win the inaugural Cup.
In the 10th minute, Atlanta’s Martyn Lancaster headed a corner kick off the upper crossbar which was finished by midfielder Tony McManus, but unfortunately for the Silverbacks, McManus was in an offside position. Atlanta closed the deal in the 22nd minute on an almost identical play – Lancaster finished a corner from Rodrigo Rios past Cruz Azul goalkeeper Oscar Perez, giving the Silverbacks the early lead.
Just a few minutes later, a torrential downpour ensued, as did a Cruz Azul equalizer – after several repeated opportunities, Cesar “El Chelito” Delgado finally put a goal past Atlanta keeper Felipe Quintero for Cruz Azul after a rebound on a corner kick.
The rain subsided at halftime, and the second half saw Cruz Azul add another goal to their lead. Delgado crossed in a ball from the right flank to an unmarked Cesar Villaluz, who slotted the ball past substitute keeper Ryan McIntosh for the game winning goal in the 77th minute.
Cruz Azul, who plays in the Mexican First Division, boasts many national team players from Mexico, Uruguay, and Argentina who have played in numerous FIFA World Cups. International stars include Oscar Perez, Israel Lopez, and Cesar “El Chelito” Delgado. Tonight’s match ended Cruz Azul’s pre-season tour in the United States; Cruz Azul defeated the Carolina RailHawks on Wednesday night by a score of 2-0.
This was the second exhibition match the ‘Backs have played against a Mexican First Division opponent. Earlier in the month, Atlanta faced off against Monterrey, earning a 1-1 draw.
The next Silverbacks home game will be Saturday, August 4th against the Charleston Battery. For more information and tickets, please call 404-969-4900 or visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com.
Atlanta’s starters: Felipe Quintero (Ryan McIntosh – 45), Justin Moore (Angel Rivillo – 80), David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Martyn Lancaster (Omar Jarun – 66), Scott Buete, Rodrigo Rios (Luis Liendo – 80), Tony McManus, Macoumba Kandji (Rafique Hassim – 80), Daniel Antoniuk (Machel Millwood – 72), Anthony Wolfe (Warren Ukah – 45).
Goals: Lancaster – 22 (Rios)
Cautions: Lancaster – 41; Moore - 52
Cruz Azul’s starters: Oscar Perez, Carlos Bonet, Julio Dominguez, Joel Huiqui, Rogelio Chavez, Felix Gonzalez, Israel Lopez (Edgar Gerardo – 63), Gavino Velazco, Richard Nunez (Cesar Villaluz – 63), Cesar Delgado, Miguel Sabah (Luis Orozco - 80).
Goals: Delgado – 30; Villaluz – 77 (Delgado)
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