The NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks will get another crack at Major League Soccer (MLS) competition, and this time it will come away from home as the team will travel to play the Colorado Rapids in the fifth round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, with kickoff set for 9 p.m. ET at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, City, Colo.
“Tuesday’s game in Colorado will be another tremendous challenge for our team,” said Silverbacks President & General Manager Andy Smith. “That being said, our team, as we showed against Real Salt Lake, is comprised of players who are more than capable of playing at the next level.”
Technical Director Eric Wynalda’s team booked its place in the tournament’s fifth round last Saturday with a well-deserved win over MLS side Real Salt Lake, who was last year’s Cup runner-up. After conceding an early goal, the Silverbacks dominated the contest, outshooting Real Salt Lake 20-8 and scoring the all-important winner in second-half stoppage time.
The Silverbacks had to wait a few days to find out their fifth-round opponents, as the Rapids hosted USL PRO side Orlando City SC on Tuesday night in Colorado. The MLS side trounced Orlando City, 5-2, earning a date with the Silverbacks in the next round of the Cup.
Tuesday’s matchup in Colorado will be a reunion of sorts for the Silverbacks. Rapids defender Chris Klute played for the Silverbacks Reserves and Silverbacks professional team in 2012 before heading to Colorado, while goalkeeper Joe Nasco signed with the Rapids after a standout season with the Silverbacks in 2013. Klute played college soccer at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga. Nasco famously turned pro in 2012 after working in the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office in Calhoun, Ga. for a short time.
“It’s always nice to have your club represented at the next level, and we’re very proud of Joe and Chris for what they have been able to accomplish,” Smith said. “Hopefully they will be available to play on Tuesday because we would love the opportunity to take the field across from a few of our alumni that have been able to make the step to MLS.”
The Silverbacks are currently in the midst of their FIFA World Cup break, as the North American Soccer League (NASL) operates under a split-season scheduling format. The team received a few days off following their big win over Real Salt Lake, but will get back on the field on Thursday to begin preparing for their fifth-round Cup matchup in Colorado.
Sitting in third place in the MLS Western Conference standings, the Rapids have had a stellar season thus far. The club’s 6-5-4 (W-L-T) record puts them just three points behind second-place Real Salt Lake. The Rapids have picked up seven points in their last four league games, and looked very good in their opening Cup match against Orlando City, racing out to a 4-1 lead after just 55 minutes. Forward Deshorn Brown was the catalyst for the Rapids last night, notching a hat-trick in the 5-2 win.
Kickoff on Tuesday is set for 9 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local time) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Information on a live online broadcast has yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned to atlantasilverbacksfc.com for updates.