ROCHESTER, NY – In the first meeting of the season between the two clubs, the Atlanta Silverbacks defeated the Rochester Raging Rhinos at PAETEC Park tonight by a score of 4-3 in a thrilling back-and-forth match.
28 combined shots by Rochester and Atlanta contributed to a total of seven goals in the game, a current 2008 season record for the USL-1. As well, no other team has managed to score four goals in a game except the Seattle Sounders, who tallied four goals in a May fixture against the Silverbacks.
(Photo Caption: Atlanta striker Jason McLaughlin helped lead an attack that scored a season-high four goals. Photo courtesy of Ron Holt).
The victory marks the first time Atlanta has been able to win on the road this season. The Silverbacks also snapped Rochester's seven-game unbeaten streak and handed the Rhinos their first home loss since their home-opener on May 17th.
The Rhinos nearly struck in the 18th minute off a free kick from Steve Guppy. An unmarked Luke Kreamalmeyer received the kick and took a one-time blast, but missed just wide. Rochester would keep up the offensive pressure; a few minutes later, Matthew Delicâte slammed a ball off the woodwork after another cross from Guppy.
Atlanta would withstand the pressure and counter with several chances of its own, switching the momentum of the first half to their favor. In the 32nd minute, Macoumba Kandji had a one-on-one against Ross Smith of the Rhinos in a 30-yard full sprint to the net. Kandji was able to bring the ball to the penalty spot before Smith was able to deflect his shot on goal, creating an easy save for Rochester goalkeeper Scott Vallow.
Then, in the 41st minute, Atlanta’s Justin Moore served a ball directly at the Rochester goal. A sprinting Scott Buete ran to the ball in the box and received a heavy bump from Alfonso Loera which sent him to the ground, resulting in a penalty kick for the Silverbacks. Kandji would take the ensuing kick and easily slot it in to give Atlanta the lead.
However, just like the Silverbacks’ last match, the opponent would respond immediately; on a corner from the Rhinos, Mauricio Salles dummied a ball that was then perfectly blasted into the side netting by Gregor in the 44th minute. Atlanta keeper Ryan McIntosh was left helpless, and the teams would go into the half tied at one goal apiece.
The first few minutes of the second half saw a flurry of goals. Atlanta regained the lead just minutes into the second half when a streaking Jason McLaughlin had his shot on goal deflected right to the feet of Jerson Monteiro, who collected the ball and put it into the back of the net to put Atlanta up 2-1.
The Silverbacks’ high-powered offense struck again just three minutes later in the 52nd minute. Scott Buete left a ball for a sprinting Kandji, who fired his shot at Rochester net. The Rhinos’ goalie did his best to thwart the attempt, but was only able to deflect the shot into the back of the net, doubling the Atlanta lead. The goal was Kandji’s ninth of the year.
The goals would keep flowing, the next one coming from the Rhinos. Another beautiful service from Steve Guppy from the left flank of the field was headed by a tightly marked Delicâte, floating his shot over and past McIntosh to pull the Rhinos to within a goal in the 53rd minute.
Atlanta nearly struck again in the 65th minute. In a give-and-go with Chris Mahaffey, Mahaffey back-heeled a ball inside the 18-yard box to David Hayes, who shot a ball that hit both posts in a freak play. The ball was then collected and parried to safety by Vallow, spoiling the Atlanta effort.
Kandji would continue to create all sorts of trouble for the Rhinos’ defense. In the 70th minute, Rochester defender Kreamalmeyer dragged down a streaking Kandji inside the box, creating another penalty kick for the Silverbacks. David Hayes would take the attempt, and slammed the ball past Vallow to put give Atlanta the two goal lead.
Just minutes later, Rochester would respond yet again with a penalty kick of their own. After a free kick from Gregor, Salles was taken down in the Atlanta box, and he would convert the resulting penalty kick in the 75th minute, the third penalty kick of the match awarded by the referee.
The Rhinos would push forward, adding in crafty striker Johnny Menyongar to bolster the attempt at the game-tying goal. Atlanta would stave off repeated efforts from Rochester and come away with the crucial 4-3 win.
The win keeps Atlanta at sixth in the USL-1 standings, but helps to provide some cushion in the playoff race, as the top seven teams advance.
The Silverbacks return home Tuesday, August 5th for a match against the league-leading Vancouver Whitecaps. For tickets or more information, please call 1-866-GO-BACKS or visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com.
Around the League:
Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Charleston Battery 2
Carolina RailHawks 0, Puerto Rico Islanders 1
Atlanta Starters: Ryan McIntosh, Justin Moore, David Hayes, Josh Bolton, Martyn Lancaster, Scott Buete, Jason McLaughlin, Rodrigo Rios, Tony McManus, Jerson Monteiro, Macoumba Kandji
Substitutions: Chris Mahaffey for Jerson Monteiro (58), Blake Camp for Rodrigo Rios (66), Greg Chevalier for Chris Mahaffey (81)
Goals: Macoumba Kandji – 42 (penalty), Jerson Monteiro – 49, Macoumba Kandji – 52 (Scott Buete), David Hayes – 71 (penalty)
Cautions: Martyn Lancaster – 19, Macoumba Kandji (90)
Rochester Starters: Scott Vallow, John Ball, Ross Smith, Danny Earls, Tiger Fitzpatrick, Alfonso Loera, Luke Kreamalmeyer, Steve Guppy, Andrew Gregor, Matthew Delicâte, Mauricio Salles
Substitutions: Rey Martinez for Ross Smith (56), Johnny Menyongar for Steve Guppy (83)
Goals: Andrew Gregor – 44 (Luke Kreamalmeyer), Matthew Delicâte – 53 (Steve Guppy), Mauricio Salles – 75 (penalty)
Cautions: Ross Smith – 28, Andrew Gregor – 42, John Ball – 62, Scott Vallow – 70
Weather: Cloudy, 77
Referees: Tony Crush, Kevin Woody, Katherine Dziedziec, William Engel