The Atlanta Silverbacks beat the Puerto Rico Islanders 3-1 tonight in the ‘Backs’ final regular season home match at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. The feisty match that was complete with three ejections, four cautions, and 30 fouls, gives the Silverbacks a three-point advantage over the Islanders in the current USL First Division standings. The win takes Atlanta’s record to 12-8-6 and currently gives them the sole claim over fourth place with 42 points; Puerto Rico remains in sixth place with 39 points.
The Silverbacks wasted no time taking the lead in their third match against the Islanders in the 2007 season. In the third minute of the match, Tony McManus sent in a cross from the left flank to Machel Millwood who headed the ball in for the early lead. The Silverbacks dominated play and controlled the majority of the possession. Atlanta doubled their lead less than ten minutes later when Warren Ukah scored his fifth goal of the season. David Hayes sent a ball into the box to Ukah who battled a defender, held onto the ball, and ripped a shot past the Islanders’ goalkeeper Josh Saunders. The half was nearly over when a tough foul on Macoumba Kandji led to ejections for both sides. The referee ejected Mauricio Segovia for taking down Kandji, while Atlanta’s Hayes was ejected for his retaliation after the foul. The half ended with Atlanta leading 2-0 and each side preparing to play with only ten men for the entire second half.
It was Puerto Rico who scored the early goal in the second half - Victor Herrera sent a cross in to John Krause who flicked the ball with his head into the back of the net. Atlanta held onto their one goal lead and the battle between the two sides continued for the remainder of the half. Anthony Wolfe gave the ‘Backs a cushion to their lead in the 78th minute. Scott Buete freed Wolfe with a through ball; Wolfe beat his defender in a foot race and calmly placed the ball into the far side netting. The 90th minute saw the Puerto Rico side reduced to nine when Jeremie Piette received his second yellow card and was ejected from the match. The referee blew the whistle just a few seconds after play resumed and the Silverbacks walked away with their third win against the Islanders this season.
The Silverbacks will play their final two regular season matches on the road in Canada against the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Silverbacks will return to Atlanta to begin the first round of the postseason the weekend of September 14, 15, and 16.
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Atlanta’s starters: Ryan McIntosh, Martyn Lancaster, David Hayes, Omar Jarun, Tweety Walters, Rodrigo Rios (Dayton O’Brien – 89), Scott Buete (Alvin Hudson – 90), Tony McManus, Macoumba Kandji (Angel Rivillo – 90), Machel Millwood (Anthony Wolfe – 71), Warren Ukah (Luis Liendo – 45).
Goals: Millwood – 3 (McManus); Ukah – 12 (Hayes); Wolfe – 78 (Buete)
Ejections: Hayes - 45
Puerto Rico’s starters: Josh Saunders, Raphael Ortiz (David Johnson – 45), Jeremie Piette, Mauricio Segovia, Alberto Delgado (Willie Sims – 82), Edwin Miranda, Gustavo Avila (John Krause – 45), Victor Herrera, Alexis Rivera (Lars Lyssand – 72), Gregory Simmonds, Jay Needham (Peter Villegas – 77).
Goals: Krause – 48 (Herrera)
Cautions: Delgado – 33; Simmonds – 64; Piette – 75; Piette - 90
Ejections: Segovia – 45; Piette – 90
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