|Silverbacks Draw Puerto RicoSaturday June 7, 2008|
ATLANTA—The Silverbacks came from a goal down to play the Puerto Rico Islanders to a 1-1 draw Friday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Ansu Toure scored a left-footed blast from 18 yards out to draw the game level in the 36th minute.
(Photo Caption: The Silverbacks' David Hayes had a strong game on the left side for the Silverbacks. Photo by Elaine Carroll)
“It was a very hot and cold performance tonight,” said head coach Jason Smith. “Not enough to get the result we needed. We did have some chances at the end of the game that we just couldn't seem to finish. It's disappointing that we didn't come away from this game with three points.”
Traditionally, matches between these two clubs has been an attacking affair. And this game was no different. In only the third minute, Toure nearly put the Silverbacks on the score sheet, nodding a perfectly weighted ball from Jason McLaughlin just over the cross bar.
But it was Puerto Rico that found the back of the net first off a long throw-in by Cristian Arrieta. Silverback goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh came off his line into traffic to play the ball, but could only swat it partially away. Noah Delgado, standing unmarked just beyond the play, lobbed a header over the stranded McIntosh to open scoring on the night.
Only two minutes later, it was Toure, connecting this time with Rodrigo Rios, who again featured on the left side of the midfield after coming on as a substitute last week versus Carolina. Rios played a lovely ball onto Toure, whose left-footed blast went well over the cross bar.
Puerto Rico would have had a golden chance to double its lead in the 28th minute were it not for the heroics of Matt Bobo, whose perfectly timed sliding tackle on Noel Fabrice kept the speedy striker from a clear one-on-one opportunity on McIntosh.
After several close calls, the Silverbacks finally leveled things in the 37th minute when Toure won the ball just past midfield, cutting inside to find McLaughlin. Toure continued his run and McLaughlin played the ball back to him in stride. Toure beat one more defender and smashed the ball with his left foot that glanced off the inside of the far post to bring the match level.
“Jason played me a great one-two and I had a good shot on goal,” said Toure. “It felt good to get a goal when we needed one. We all worked very hard for that goal.”
Three minutes later, McIntosh redeemed himself, robbing Jonathan Steele of a sure goal, diving to his right to parry away a well struck ball for a corner kick.
“That was just a great save,” Smith said. “It kept us in the game."
The back and forth affair continued in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Josh Bolton fouled Noel just outside of the penalty area. McIntosh did well to punch away Steele's dipping set piece for a corner kick.
In the 60th minute, Puerto Rico had a goal called back after Arrieta found the back of the net from an offside position.
In the last half-hour of the match, the Silverbacks continued to press for the win. Rios put a ball just out of McLaughlin's reach in the 61st. Mac Kandji, who was dangerous all night on the flanks, had had two attempts saved by Islander goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
With time only on the referee's watch, substitute Chris Mahaffey had a close range shot blocked away for a corner kick by a lunging defender. Blake Camp's snap header off the resulting corner tested Gaudette, who managed to hold the ball. And only seconds later, it was Gaudette again, kick-saving a shot from Nathan Knox to close out the match.
There were a total of 26 shots (16 for Atlanta, 10 for Puerto Rico) in the match, 13 of which forced saves by the two goalkeepers. McIntosh finished with six saves on the night, Gaudette had seven.
Once again, Blake Camp replaced Rodrigo Rios at the hour mark. “I though Blake played very well tonight,” said head coach Jason Smith. “This may be his best game yet.”
Old Captain, My Captain
After starting last week's 1-0 win over Carolina on the bench, captain Rodrigo Rios reassumed his regular starting spot in the midfield and the captain's armband.
Two for Toure
Toure's 36th minute blast was his second goal on the year.
Far and Away
The Silverbacks will play three consecutive road games beginning with a U.S. Open Cup match versus PDL side Austin Aztex on Tuesday, then traveling to Portland on Thursday, and Minnesota on Saturday.
The Silverbacks begin Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play Tuesday, traveling to Austin, Texas for a first-round match versus PDL club Austin Aztex.
Ryan McIntosh, Justin Moore, David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Josh Bolton, Scott Buete, Rodrigo Rios (Blake Camp 68), Tony McManus, Ansu Toure (Chris Mahaffey 84), Jason McLaughlin (Nathan Knox 74), Mac Kandji.
Puerto Rico Islanders:
Bill Guadette, Daniel Ojeda, Josh Virause, Cristian Arrieta, Nigel Henry, Noah Delgado (Sandi Gbandi 72), Jonathan Steele, Edwin Miranda, Edson Elcock (Peter Villegas 57), Fabrice Noel (Josh Hansen 88), Taiwo Atieno (Kendall Jegdeosingh 81).
ATL—Toure (McLaughlin) 36
ATL—Bolton (caution) 32
PRI—Jegdeosingh (caution) 83