|Silverbacks Fall to SeattleFriday May 2, 2008|
ATLANTA—The Silverbacks fell to the Seattle Sounders in a rematch of last year's USL-1 finals Friday night 2-0 at Silverbacks Park. Leighton O'Brien and Sebastien Le Toux tallied for the Sounders.
(Picture Caption—The Silverbacks' Tony McManus (12) shakes off a Seattle defender in Friday night's rematch of the 2007 USL-1 finals. The Silverbacks fell to the Sounders 2-0. Photo by Elaine Carroll)
Like last year's final in which the Silverbacks fell 4-0, Friday night's nationally televised match-up was not indicative of the 2-0 score line.
"I actually though we played well," said Silverbacks head coach Jason Smith. "We played well enough to win, but they got a great save off the line which seemed to kill our momentum. We created enough chances, but you can't win if you give up soft goals."
All week Smith had warned about how dangerous the winless Sounders could be. That became evident in the eighth minute when Leighton O'Brien put the Sounders on the score sheet with a perfectly placed in-swinging corner kick that went, untouched, just inside the far post.
Despite what Smith called a "soft goal," the Silverbacks went right back at the Sounders. Warren Ukah—making his first start for the Silverbacks since rejoining the club last week—missed over the top from inside the six-yard box.
Ukah's start may be his last for a while. He was carried off the field in the 77th minute after injuring his knee in a collision with Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander.
As they had done throughout the match, the Silverbacks continued to dictate the run of play. Jason McLaughlin was unlucky to not have leveled the score in the 56th minute, nodding a David Hayes cross down to the far post. Eylander made a spectacular diving save to keep the ball out, and was rescued by a retreating defender who cleared the ball to safety.
The Sounders took advantage of a prone Silverback squad pushing for an equalizer in the 66th minute when O'Brien found Le Toux with a searching ball from behind the midfield stripe. Le Toux muscled one retreating Silverback defender off the ball and easily tapped it past a stranded Ryan McIntosh to double the lead.
Ansu Toure nearly pulled the Silverbacks a goal back in the 71st minute, clanging a ball from short range—and a bad angle—off the side of the post, and Scott Buete—making his first appearance for the club on the season—missed from 10 yards out on a looping cross from Mac Kandji.
Forward Nathan Knox made his Silverbacks debut Friday night against his old club, Seattle, coming on in the 80th minute for Ansu Toure. In 2007 Knox tallied three goals in 15 appearances for the 2007 champions.
Leighton O'Brien's eighth minute goal was a rarity—it went straight in off a corner kick. The closest player to the ball was a flailing Ansu Toure, who could not get a head to the perfectly placed set piece. Less than an hour after the final whistle, the goal was already being replayed on Sports Center.
Warren Ukah, last season's top scorer for the Silverbacks with 11 goals was carried off the field after a collision with Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander. He was immediately taken for an off-site evaluation.
The Silverbacks take to the road for the first time this season, traveling to Cary, North Carolina to face the Carolina RailHawks for the second time this season. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw at Silverbacks Park to open the season for both clubs.
Jason Smith on the team's performance:
"I actually thought we played well. We played well enough to win, but they got a save off the line which seemed to kill our momentum. We created enough chances to win, but you can’t win if you give up soft goals like that.”
Smith on Seattle's tactics:
“They stayed back and stayed compact and were really tough to break down. All of the one v. one duels and balls in the air they seemed to win so you’ve got to give them credit, but we still got enough balls into the box and should have done better.”
Smith on the Silverbacks record versus Seattle:
“I still think this was an improvement from the last two times against them as far as being more dynamic in the attack, but you’ve got to produce to win.”
On controling the run of play:
“It’s always disappointing when you have most of the possession and chances and can’t come away with the win,”
Scott Buete on returning to the Silverbacks after playing indoor:
“It actually felt pretty good. It felt a lot better than I thought it would. It just sucks that we were down two goals when I came in.”
Buete on his fitness:
“I just need to get in outdoor shape for next time."
Rodrigo Rios on the team's performance:
“I think we played a good game, and improved our play for 90 minutes, and played a good game against one of the best teams in the league, but could not finish our chances.”
Rios looking forward:
“They got two goals on two chances, and that’s unlucky, but we feel like if we play like we did tonight in all of the rest of the games it will be a very good season for us,” Rios said.
Ryan McIntosh, Justin Moore (Scott Buete 72,) David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Zach Kirby (Martyn Lancaster 73), Jason McLaughlin Chris Mahaffey 88), Rodrigo Rios, Tony McManus, Ansu Toure (Nathan Knox 80), Warren Ukah( Jerson Monteiro 77), Mac Kandji.
Chris Eylander, Kevin Sakuda, Danny Jackson, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Kenji Treschuk, Leighton O’Brien (Jason Cascio 77), Josh Gardner (Noah Merl 80), Sebastien Le Toux (Adam West 90), Andre Schmid (John Fishbauger 73).
STL—Leighton O'Brien 8
STL—Sebastien Le Toux 66
STL—Andre Schmid (Caution) 34
STL—Kenji Treschuk (Caution 55
STL—Leighton O’Brien (Caution) 74
ATL—David Hayes (Caution) 90