In the club's final preseason game, the Atlanta Silverbacks topped USL Pro side Charlotte Eagles, 3-0, Saturday at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
To start the game, Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes fielded a lineup mixed with reserves and trial players, but that changed after 30 minutes when the home team made wholesale changes. Beto Navarro and Martyn Lancaster anchored the center of the back line, and they were flanked by Mark Bloom on the right and Mike Randolph on the left. El Salvador international Richie Menjivar and veteran Milton Blanco patrolled the defensive midfield, while Danny Barrera played out left and Borfor Carr played out right. Pedro Mendes was slotted in behind Ruben Luna, the Silverbacks' lone striker in the formation.
It only took five minutes for the lineup to make an impact, with Luna finding the net in the 35th minute. A deflected ball fell kindly to the Mexican striker, who powered a header home from seven yards out to make it 1-0. Luna was on the score sheet again 10 minutes later when he calmly converted a penalty kick. The former FC Dallas striker was pushed down in the box by an Eagles defender, and his teammates gave him the opportunity to finish the play by taking the penalty kick.
The Silverbacks took a 2-0 halftime lead into the locker room and came out for the second half with an almost unchanged lineup - the only exception was Joe Nasco replacing Eric Ati at the goalkeeper position. Nasco was tested throughout the second half by a lively Eagles attack, but the visitors lacked the finishing touch and failed to put the ball past the Florida native.
Shane Moroney capped off a fine second half performance with an impressive headed finish off a corner kick from Mendes. The Peachtree CIty native rose high above the visiting defense to power the ball home from six yards and increase the Silverbacks advantage to 3-0.
Barrera nearly made it four goals for the hosts just before the final whistle, but his dipping half volley ended up flying just over the crossbar.
The Silverbacks kick off their 2013 season on April 13 when they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Tickets are available online at atlantasilverbacks.com or over the phone at 404-969-4900.
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