|Silverbacks Host Montreal FridayThursday April 24, 2008|
ATLANTA–The Atlanta Silverbacks face perennial league powerhouse Montreal Impact Friday night at Silverbacks Park. Kickoff is set for 7:55 p.m. The match will be broadcast live in the United States and Canada on Fox Soccer Channel.
(Photo Caption: Forward Jerson Monteiro scored three minutes into his club debut to draw the Silverbacks level at one against Carolina in Saturday's home opener at Silverbacks Park. Photo by Elaine Carroll)
“Montreal is always one of the top teams in the league,” said head coach Jason Smith. “They proved against Miami last week they can score goals. Defensively, they are always strong. We're still a little shorthanded, but Friday's game will give us a good idea where we stand, and what we need to improve.”
The Silverbacks (0-0-1, one point) opened the 2008 USL-1 season with a 1-1 draw with the Carolina RailHawks last Saturday night at Silverbacks Park. Substitute Jerson Monteiro drew the Silverbacks level 11 minutes from full time in his club debut.
“It wasn't a win, but considering the players we are missing, and the fact it was our first true test against league competition this year, it was a positive result,” said Smith.
Montreal (1-1-0, three points) currently sit in third place in the league table having already played a pair of matches, falling to Vancouver 1-0 April 12 at Vancouver, and coming back from a two-goal deficit last Saturday to top Miami F.C. Blues 2-1 at Miami. Roberto Brown and Dwight Barnett tallied second-half goals for the Impact after going down a goal early in the first half.
Last Saturday the Silverbacks were without the services of 2007 MVP Scott Buete and Warren Ukah, who led the team in goals in 2007 with 11. Both players were loaned to MISL teams, and were in the middle of the league's playoff semifinal series. Also out of the lineup on Saturday was newly acquired Ansu Toure, who was serving a one-game suspension for a red card he received last season while playing for Minnesota.
Ukah and Toure will both be available for selection Friday. Toure is expected to feature in the match at left midfield. Ukah arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday and trained with the Silverbacks for the first time on Thursday after his Milwaukee Wave side fell to the Baltimore Blast, losing both games in the home-and-away semifinal series.
“Warren's been with us in the past so he knows what we want to do collectively," said Smith. "As a target player he's very strong and can hold players off and give us time to get forward, which was one of the pieces that we were missing against Carolina."
Montreal returns a large portion of the lineup from 2007 including leading scorer Charles Gbeke (10 goals), assist leader Joey Gjertsen (5 assists), midfielder general Leonardo Di Lorenzo, and goalkeeper Matt Jordan. The Impact bolstered its already strong lineup by re-acquiring Canadian National Team midfielder Adam Braz, a regular with MLS side Toronto F.C. in 2007. Braz was a standout for the Impact from 2002-2006 before his move to BMO Field, along with David Testo, who transfered from Vancouver in the offseason. Testo was named to the league's weekly Best 11.
Last season Montreal played to a third place finish (14-6-8, 50 points) in the league table before a first round exit in the post season tournament to Puerto Rico. In 2007, the Silverbacks went 0-1-1 versus Montreal, drawing 2-2 at Silverbacks Park and losing 1-0 in the return match. All-time, the Silverbacks are 2-10-1 against the Impact, which has won five league titles and two post season championships in the 16-year history of the club.
Silverbacks' defender Matt Bobo earned a place in the league's Best 11.
USL-1 Week One Best 11
G Chris Eylander, Seattle: Nine saves, including penalty, in 1-1 draw
D Christian Arrietta, Puerto Rico: Led team in 1-0 loss at Portland
D Adrian Cann, Vancouver: Led team in 1-0 win over Montreal
D Matt Bobo, Atlanta: Led Atlanta to 1-1 draw against Carolina
M Steven Curfman, Carolina: Goal in 1-1 draw at Atlanta
M Dominic Cianciarulo, Charleston: Two goals in 2-2 draw against Miami
M David Testo, Montreal: Led Montreal to 2-1 win at Miami
M Osvaldo Alonso, Charleston: Led team in 1-1 draw against Seattle
F Chris Brown, Portland: Game-winner in 1-0 win over Puerto Rico
F Alex Afonso, Miami: Two goals in two games
F Eduardo Sebrango, Vancouver: Game-winner in 1-0 win over Montreal
Back in Red and Black
Newly acquired midfielder Ansu Toure will make his Silverbacks debut Friday versus Montreal after sitting out the club's 1-1 draw due to a one-game suspension he picked up last season while still playing for Minnesota. Toure is expected to start at left midfield against the Impact. Also returning is 2007 leading scorer (10 goals), forward Warren Ukah, who rejoined the club on Thursday after being on loan to MISL Milwaukee Wave. Ukah will not start against Montreal, but is expected to play at some point.
The Silverbacks will be without the services of 2007 MVP Scott Buete for one more week. Buete is playing on loan with MISL club Baltimore Blast, and will be playing in the post season finals versus Monterrey Saturday night. Buete is expected to rejoin the club next week, and will be available for next Friday's 2007 championship rematch versus Seattle.
'Back vs. 'Back
Buete and Ukah faced off against each other last week in the MISL semifinals. Buete's Baltimore Blast won both games of the home-and-away series to advance to the finals on Saturday. Baltimore will play a one-off final versus Mexican club Monterrey La Raza at Milwaukee's U.S. Cellular Center.
A Fine Debut—Part One
Only three minutes into his Silverback debut—and on his second touch of the ball—forward Jerson Monteiro slammed home the leveling goal against Carolina last Saturday. Monteiro came on for captain Rodrigo Rios in the 69th minute.
A Fine Debut—Part Two
Newly acquired defender Zach Kirby made his Silverbacks debut against Carolina, featuring in the central defense. Along with the start, he also picked up an assist, suppling Monteiro with a perfectly weighted ball from the defensive third of the field.
The Silverbacks set numerous attendance and ticket records at last Saturday's opener versus Carolina including highest attendance to attend a season opener at Silverbacks Park, pre-sold tickets, most group tickets, and most season tickets sold in a season.
On the Tube
Friday's match will be televised live across the United States and Canada on Fox Soccer Channel. The game is the first of four matches featuring the Silverbacks on FSC this year.
Friday's match will be Montreal's third of six consecutive road games. The Impact were forced to take to the road early in the season as construction on the club's new stadium is completed.
Injury: Mike Ambersley (knee)—Out two-to-four months
Single game tickets are still available for Friday night's match. Order online at www.AtlantaSilverbacks.com, call 866-GO-BACKS. Tickets are now available on game days at the south ticket booth at Silverbacks Park beginning at 1 p.m.