FC Edmonton and NASL 2013 Spring Season title winners Atlanta Silverbacks fought out a competitive 1-1 draw in Canada on Sunday afternoon to both move to within striking distance of the league-leading Carolina RailHawks. Three points separate six of the eight NASL clubs after three weeks of Fall Season action and the Silverbacks now sit in third place with FC Edmonton fifth.
Home midfielder Chris Nurse headed a second half equalizer, canceling out a Horace James opener for Atlanta that had come just moments after the interval, to earn a share of the points.
“I thought we had to dig deep because it’s a very talented Atlanta team and they looked dangerous on the counter attack,” said FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller. “I thought overall we could have won the game with the chances we had. I’m pleased with the response of the players after we went a goal down.”
It took 10 minutes for the teams to feel each other out and it was the Silverbacks that earned the first chance of the half. Atlanta midfielder Richie Menjivar took a shot from 20-yards out that dipped just over the bar and out of FCE goalkeeper Lance Parker’s reach and finally out for a goal kick.
The Eddies reciprocated the play when forward Corey Hertzog jumped bravely for the ball in front of the visiting teams net to beat ‘keeper Joe Nasco with the header. However, instead of FC Edmonton taking the lead, the goal was called offside and the game remained scoreless.
FC Edmonton earned their second close call of the half in the 29th minute when Hertzog played a nice layoff to Shaun Saiko, whose first shot was saved by Nasco and then played his own rebound volley just wide of the net.
FC Edmonton and Atlanta Silverbacks headed to the locker room at halftime with a 0-0 scoreline.
It was Atlanta that broke the deadlock in the 48th minute after forward Danny Barrera played the through ball to Horace James who controlled the ball on his chest in space and then fired it by Parker in the Eddies net.
FC Edmonton responded with a free kick taken by Neil Hlavaty in the 69th minute that found Chris Nurse to head into the net past Nasco to bring the home side level 1-1.
“It says a lot about the team that we worked hard and fought back,” said Nurse. “With our work ethic we were unlucky not to take all three points. If you attack the right areas you have a chance to attack it and fortunately the ball came into the right area.
“We fought as a team, which is important and we came out with a point, which is good.”
The goal spurred the Eddies to several more opportunities in front of net, but Nasco made save after save to keep the game tied 1-1 into the final whistle.
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