Match Center

  • CompetitionNASL
  • Attendance5000
  • Date31 May 14
  • VenueAtlanta Silverbacks Park
  • Kick Off06:45 PM EDT
W W L L W
Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
V
W W L W D
Minnesota United FC 2
Minnesota United FC

K. Poku85'

52'G. Jordan

74'C. Ramirez

Match Preview: Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Minnesota United FC

Match Preview: Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Minnesota United FC

ATL vs. MNU

Webcast: NASLLive.com

After securing a spot in the U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round following its midweek victory over USASA’s Des Moines Menace (1-0), league-leader Minnesota United FC now looks to seal the 2014 Spring Championship when it visits Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park.  Minnesota comes into this weekend’s encounter after playing to a scoreless draw last Saturday against visiting Carolina RailHawks, while Atlanta posted a 2-1 road victory at FC Edmonton.  The Silverbacks, whom also processed to The Cup’s Fourth Round after a 5-0 blanking of NPSL’s Chattanooga FC, have won the last two meetings against United, including a 3-1 triumph last October at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

Last Five Games:  ATL-W W L L W       MNU- W W L W T   

       
Recognition:
ATL-Kwadwo Poku (Team of the Week-7)
MNU-Justin Davis (Team of the Week-7)

Stats leaders:
ATL-Goals – Jaime Chávez (3); Assists – Blair Gavin (3)
MNU-Goals– Christian Ramirez (4); Assists – Miguel Ibarra, Christian Ramirez (2)

Suspension:
MNU-Omar Daley, Cristiano Dias

Series:
NASL Head-to-Head: (12 meetings): United 6 wins, 2 ties, 4 losses— 18 GF/15 GA (+3 GD)
At Silverbacks: (6 meetings): United 3 wins, 2 ties, 1 loss — 11 GF/9 GA (+1 GD)
Last Fall Season: (2 meetings) Silverbacks 2 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses— 4 GF/1 GA (+3 GD)
Last Meeting: October 12, 2013 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park – Silverbacks 3-1 United

Coaches quotes:
“Minnesota has always been and will continue to be one of the staples of the league because of their commitment and the way they address each and every game. They are always difficult to play against. The results have gone their way this year, and that is reflective in their position in the table. We’re really going to give this one a go, even though it’s not possible for us to win the spring season. We have no problem playing spoiler here.” – Silverbacks coach Eric Wynalda

“It's a big game for the club, we are on top of the table and we want to continue to maintain that spot with only two games left in the season. We know we are going to be playing against a very good Atlanta team that had a nice win midweek in the Open Cup as well a nice road win in Edmonton last week. There certainly some diversity for us with a couple players out, but we are excited about for some new guys to step in and bring us a good result.” – United coach Manny Lagos

Referee: Andres Pfefferkorn
Asst 1: Mark A. Suaro
Asst 2: William Hale
4th: Nick Uranga

 

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Atlanta Silverbacks 1 Minnesota United FC 2

Despite controlling possession and creating the majority of the scoring chances, the Atlanta Silverbacks dropped a 2-1 decision to league-leading Minnesota United FC in front of 5,000 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday night.

ATL v MNU

Despite controlling possession and creating the majority of the scoring chances, the Atlanta Silverbacks dropped a 2-1 decision to league-leading Minnesota United FC in front of 5,000 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday night.

Second-half goals from midfielder Greg Jordan and forward Christian Ramirez were enough to hold off a late Silverbacks comeback that included an 85th-minute goal from midfielder Kwadwo Poku.

Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda named a largely unchanged lineup following the club’s 5-0 mid-week win over NPSL side Chattanooga FC. Defender Abdul Bangura made his first career Silverbacks start, lining up next to Ryan Roushandel and Ramiro Canovas across the back.

Forward Deon McCaulay came agonizingly close to scoring on a pair of occasions in the first half, forcing Minnesota United goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt into a big save in the 25th minute and then curling a shot off the crossbar just six minutes later.

Minnnesota United FC nearly got on the board in the 43rd minute through their top scorer Ramirez, but his point-blank header at the far post ended up flying just over the crossbar.

The visitors came out of the locker room at halftime with a purpose, and after pressuring the Silverbacks’ back line in the opening minutes of the second half, they found the net. In the 53rd minute, Ramirez whipped in a pinpoint cross that found the head of Jordan, and the finish was just out of the reach of Silverbacks goalkeeper Eric Ati.

McCaulay was again in the action in the 65th minute, latching onto a through-ball in front of goal, but the Belizean forward’s shot was right at Hildebrandt.

Despite the Silverbacks’ pressure, Minnesota United would find a second goal through Ramirez. A high cross was sent to the far post, and a relatively unmarked Ramirez was there to nod the ball in. Defending set pieces have been a problem for the Silverbacks this season, and it reared its ugly head again, as the visitors went up 2-0 in the 72nd minute.

There was still time for the Silverbacks to climb back, and they started to do exactly that in the 85th minute. Substitute midfielder Alex Harlley found the feet of Poku, who absolutely buried a shot past a diving Hildebrandt to make it 2-1. Midfielder Junior Sandoval nearly equalized two minutes later, but his half-volley flew just over the crossbar, much to the dismay of the loud home supporters.

At one point during the game, Minnesota United was in line to clinch the 2014 NASL Spring Season Championship, but late goals from the San Antonio Scorpions and New York Cosmos meant that all three teams achieved victory on Saturday night, which postponed Minnesota’s potential celebration.