|Silverbacks Face Seattle in 2007 Championship Rematch FridayThursday May 1, 2008|
ATLANTA—The Atlanta Silverbacks face the Seattle Sounders Friday at Silverbacks Park in a rematch of the 2007 USL-1 championship. The match will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel. Kick off is set for 7:55 p.m.
(Photo Captions—Photo One: The Silverbacks will be at full strength with the return of Warren Ukah and Scott Buete from loan commitments. Photo Two: Jason McLaughlin tallied his first goal of the season versus Montreal. Photo Three: The Silverbacks' 2007 MVP Scott Buete joined the team on Thursday after winning an MISL championship Sunday with the Baltimore Blast. Photos one and two by Elaine Carroll)
The Silverbacks are fresh off a nationally televised 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact played last Friday night at Silverbacks Park. Mac Kandji, David Hayes, and Jason McLaughlin tallied for the Silverbacks.
After an impressive—and some say unexpected—run in 2007 through the USL-1 post season tournament after finishing fourth in league play, the Silverbacks conceded an early goal to an intimidating Seattle club on its home ground, eventually falling 4-0.
Seattle remains winless on the season, drawing away to Charleston 1-1 and falling to rival Portland Timbers 2-0 at PGE Park. Second-year player Kenji Treschuk has the only Sounders goal on the season.
In 2007 the Sounders began the season 1-4-3, losing only two more games the rest of the year, finishing 16-6-6.
“Seattle's start is definitely not indicative of the team they have,” Smith said. “They are a notoriously slow starting team and always turn it around.”
Two games into the early season, the Silverbacks are 1-0-1, having also played the Carolina RailHawks to a 1-1 draw at Silverbacks Park to open league play.
“Hopefully we'll have some momentum going in from last week's win,” said Smith. “We'll definitely put up a better performance than we did last time against them.”
The Silverbacks could be without the service of David Hayes due to a nagging hamstring injury. Hayes put the Silverbacks in the lead in the 52nd minute of last Friday's win over Montreal and has only trained lightly all week. He is listed as questionable for Friday's match.
Last season's leading scorer Warren Ukah and 2007 team MVP Scott Buete, who both missed the opening weeks of the season due to loan commitments with MISL clubs, are now with the Silverbacks. Ukah joined the club last Thursday, and was used as a late game substitute verses Montreal. Buete trained with the team today, and is expected to appear Friday.
The Sounders return the entire starting 11 from its 2007 championship squad including League MVP Sebastien Le Toux. However, the Sounders will be without the services of forward Nathan Knox, who contributed three goals in 15 appearances for Seattle in 2007. Knox signed with the Silverbacks in the off season. His Silverbacks debut has been slowed due to a preseason injury.
“They have a lot of good players and play well as a team,” said Smith. “But we have a very dynamic attack, and with the personnel we have now, we are getting better and better each time we play.”
This is the final for the season for the Sounders in USL-1. In 2009 the club will begin play in Major League Soccer.
For the second week in a row the Silverbacks placed a player in the league's Best 11 squad. Ansu Toure earned the honors for his play in last Friday's 3-2 win over Montreal. Toure had a hand in all three of the Silverbacks' goals, assisting the game winner. Toure joins Matt Bobo as Silverback honorees this season.
Full Steam Ahead
For the first time all season, the Silverbacks will have virtually a full compliment of players from which to choose. Scott Buete and Warren Ukah will both be available for selection. Both missed the opening of the season due to loan commitments with MISL clubs. Ukah joined the club last week and saw limited action versus Montreal. Buete will train with the team Thursday and be available for selection.
Share the Wealth
Four different players account for the four Silverbacks' goals on the season. Jerson Monteiro, Mac Kandji, David Hayes, and Jason McLaughlin have all tallied for the club this season.
The Magic Number
The Silverbacks average have scored four goals in two games.
Maybe, Maybe Not
David Hayes is listed as questionable for Friday. He is nursing a tender hamstring, and did not respond to treatment over the week. He did not train Wednesday or Thursday.
Sunday was a Blast
The Silverbacks' 2007 MVP Scott Buete's loan to MISL club Baltimore Blast was extended a little longer than had been expected due to the club's playoff run. On Sunday Baltimore topped Monterrey La Raza 14-11 in the league finals.
“It's my first championship as a professional,” Buete said. “I've lost a couple. To finally win one was an incredible experience. Now we just need to win one here.”
Buete joined trained with the club for the first time on Thursday, and is expected to appear in Friday's match, most likely in the second half.
Nathan Knox will be facing his former club on Friday. Knox tallied three times in 15 appearances for the Sounders in the club's 2007 championship run. He has not yet made his Silverbacks debut.
At Home on FSC
Friday's match will be the second consecutive nationally televised match from Silverbacks Park. Last Friday's win over Montreal was seen by viewers across the United States and Canada. The Silverbacks will play twice more on FSC—both at home: May 16 versus Minnesota and June 6 versus Puerto Rico.
At a Glance
Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0-1
Position in League Table: Tied for second, three points
U.S. Open Cup: 0-0-0
Last Five Matches: 1-0-1
Versus Seattle in 2008: 0-0-0
Versus Seattle in 2007: 0-2-1
Versus Seattle All-time: 2-4-2
Last Result: 4/25 v. Montreal Impact: 3-2
Next Fixture: 5/10 @ Carolina RailHawks
Seattle Sounders 0-1-1
Position in League Table: Tenth place, one point
U.S. Open Cup: 0-0-0
Last Five Matches: 0-1-1
Versus Atlanta in 2008: 0-0-0
Versus Atlanta in 2007: 2-0-1
Versus Atlanta All-time: 4-2-2
Last Result: 4/19 @ Portland, 0-2
Next Fixture: 5/10 v. Portland Timbers
Mike Ambersley (knee)—Out two-to-eight months
David Hayes (Hamstrinig)—Questionable