|Silverbacks Top MinnesotaSaturday May 17, 2008|
ATLANTA—The Silverbacks topped the Minnesota Thunder 2-1 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park Friday night. Tony McManus and Jason McLaughlin tallied for the Silverbacks.
(Photo Caption: Jason McLaughlin picked up his third goal on the season and an assist in the club's 2-1 win over Minnesota. He now leads Silverback scorers with three goals. Photo by Elaine Carroll)
“We got a win. We needed a win,” said Silverbacks head coach, Jason Smith. “We played well enough to score four goals tonight—but we only got two.”
The Silverbacks, in need of three points going into Sunday's match at Seattle, immediately took to the offensive. Mac Kandji—who was questionable going into the match after missing last week's 2-2 draw at Carolina due to a knee injury—out ran his marker in the 11th minute, beating another defender before his shot was deflected for a corner kick.
In the 25th minute later it was Kandji again doing the creative work on the ball before feeding McManus in the penalty area. McManus missed just wide right.
Ten minutes later it was McManus again, first winning the ball at midfield and playing it through to McLaughlin on the left flank. McLaughlin beat three players and held up the ball long enough for McManus to fill the space in the middle of the park. There was little Minnesota goalkeeper Nicolas Platter could do on McManus' sliding shot but watch it sneak in just inside the near post. The goal was the first Platter had allowed in more than 270 minutes.
With two minutes remaining in the half Minnesota had its first real chance. Failing to clear a Ricardo Sanchez corner kick, the Thunder had several blocked attempts on goal from short range before the ball was finally played to safety.
“Coming into the second half, they went to three in the back and packed in the midfield,” Smith said. “It caused us some problems for 20 or 30 minutes before we got it figured out.”
It was not until the 50th minute that the home side was able to break through. Ansu Toure—playing against his former club—broke free on the right flank, standing up one player and cutting in towards goal before slotting the ball to an unmarked McLaughlin. McLaughlin had the luxury of two touches in the penalty area before sliding the ball in to the far post for what would be the game winner. The goal was McLaughlin's third on the season. He now leads the Silverback in goals.
“It feels good to score, but it feels even better to win,” McLaughlin said. “It makes it a little easier to go into the game on Sunday with the confidence of a win. It's always to play a difficult game coming off a good win.”
Twenty minutes later Minnesota got on the board. Once again it was soft defending by the Silverbacks—something that has plagued the club all year. On a Luchi Gonzalez free kick on the right side of the penalty area, Melvin Tarley found himself unmarked just outside of the Silverbacks' six-yard box, and easily nodded the ball in for his second goal in as many games.
Six minutes later David Hayes nearly put the Silverbacks up again by two, missing just wide of the near post. And with seven minutes remaining Toure had an opportunity taken away after he was unable to recover from a challenge by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area with no one else to beat. No foul was called.
The Silverbacks take the three points on the road, facing Seattle at StarFire—the site of the 2007 USL-1 Championship match. The Silverbacks will be looking to make up for the 2-0 loss suffered at Silverbacks Park earlier this month.
Jason McLaughlin scored his third goal of the season in the 50th minute. He also picked up an assist, playing a lovely ball in to Tony McManus in the first half.
Got Their Number
Tony McManus—who picked up his first goal on the season—scored in both games versus Minnesota in 2007.
In honor of playing his former club, Ansu Toure colored his hair gold for the match. He had an assist on McLaughlin's goal.
I Know You
Dayton O'Brien returned to Silverbacks Park for the first time since his offseason trade for Ansu Toure. He was substituted at half time for Melvin Tarley.
No Win For You
Minnesota has never won at Silverbacks Park. The win bumped them to 0-3 all-time.
The Silverbacks travel to Seattle to face the Sounders (1-1-3) at StarFire, the site of last year's championship match. The Silverbacks fell to the Sounders 2-0 at Silverbacks Park May 2.
The Sounders are coming off a 1-1 draw with last place Rochester at StarFire last Wednesday night. Zach Scott scored for the Sounders.
Ryan McIntosh, Justin Moore, David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Martyn Lancaster, Scott Buete, Rodrigo Rios (Blake Camp 73), Tony McManus, Jason McLaughlin, Ansu Toure (Jerson Monteiro 88), Mac Kandji.
Nic Platter, John Greenfield (Brian Kallman 80), Kevin Taylor, Kevin Friedland, Stephen deRoux, Dayton O'Brien (Melvin Tarley 46), Jeremiah Bass, Andy Barron (Freddy Moojen 80), Ricardo Sanchez (Leo Gibson 60), Luchi Gonzalez, Alen Marcina (Aaron Paye 57).
ATL—Tony McManus (McLaughlin) 35
ATL—Jason McLaughlin (Toure) 50
MIN—Melvin Tarley (Gonzalez) 70
MIN—Stephen Deroux (caution) 86
ATL—Justin Moore (caution) 90