FC Edmonton took on the Atlanta Silverbacks tonight at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta. On April 16, FC Edmonton narrowly defeated the Silverbacks 1-0. Rein Baart made a crucial save in stoppage time to ensure the victory. Edmonton has had a rough go out over the last few games. They were defeated by Toronto FC in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship and lost to the Montreal Impact 5 – 0 in their previous league match. Atlanta comes into this match playing much more cohesively of late. They earned a point in a 1 – 1 draw against FC Tampa Bay last week. Atlanta hopes to build on their better play to earn their first victory of the season. Atlanta had not lost a match by more than one goal this season entering tonight.
The match started with Atlanta controlling possession and dictating the tempo. Edmonton had Lance Parker in goal tonight. Rein Baart could not play tonight due to a red card he was handed during the waning moments of Edmonton’s previous match. Edmonton lined up in their familiar 4-3-3 with their forwards pressing Atlanta’s backline in hopes of causing mistakes. In the 12th minute, Jordan Davis took a shot from distance and nearly caught Lance Parker off his line for goal. Edmonton saw Shaun Saiko’s shot sail wide of goal in the 20th minute. Both teams had a difficult time creating scoring opportunities in the final third. Edmonton chose to attack down the left flank with forward Kyle Porter leading the way. Sam Lam was brought down in the area however the official chose not to call it. Lam would be on the attack again shortly thereafter. His shot was saved brilliantly in the 40th minute. Lam was the recipient of some shot passing and found just enough space to shoot.
The second half began similar to the way the first half was played. Atlanta’s Shane Moroney saw his half volley shot sail wide in the 58th minute. Moroney was on the attack again in the 60th minute and saw his shot sail wide. The shot appeared to go into the net and even the commentator was confused. Atlanta had a free kick opportunity in the 67th minute. The ensuing play saw Jon Cox’s shot saved. Atlanta began to make the better of their opportunities. Edmonton caught Atlanta sleeping defensively. Paul Craig scored a goal in the 69th minute against the run of play. The goal seemed to have taken the wind out of Atlanta’s sails. Edmonton would score again in the 76th minute. Luke Porter was rewarded with his efforts scoring on a tap-in while in traffic. Atlanta’s scoring opportunities were orchestrated by NASL Player of the Month candidate Mario Perez. Perez looked lively throughout the match both in attack and defense.
(photo by WJ Walsh)