Draw Keeps Rowdies, SIlverbacks In Postseason Contention

Neither side could find a winner in the scoreless draw
Atlanta Silverbacks Staff | Oct 17, 2015

The Atlanta Silverbacks split points with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the only meeting this season at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday. Neither team could crack the other in the scoreless affair.

"Every one of our boys came out with energy and positivity, especially after the sour taste left from our last match (a loss to the New York Cosmos)," Silverbacks coach Gary Smith said. "I think it fair to say that we were the better side, with maybe the exception of the final minutes of the first half. We asked the right questions of Tampa Bay, but the final ball just wasn't there. All in all, this is a good result and we will build off it and prepare to play at Minnesota (next week)."

Atlanta’s third and finial match with the Rowdies certainly got off to a fast start, with both teams pushing the pressure early on. For the first 10 minutes, the bulk of the action went in Atlanta’s favor. The Silverbacks sent in multiple crosses and Burgos would have tallied early off of a free kick had it not been for Matt Pickens’ diving save.

Not to be outdone, the Rowdies continued to push and earned themselves a corner kick in the 15th minute. Freddy Adu’s cross met defender Stefan Antonijevic’s head, but the big man’s shot went just wide of the post. Forward Brian Shriver came close only a few minutes later with a cheeky chip spinning just over the crossbar.

Atlanta was struck a major blow in the 21st minute when the creative Burgos had to be replaced due to injury. Midfielder Michal Mravec substituted on to fill Burgos’ void.

For the remaining 24 minutes of the first half, neither team seemed to get a handle on the match. Adu was given multiple free-kick opportunities, each fizzling before becoming anything dangerous. The same happened with Atlanta’s corner kick opportunities.

To the dismay of both teams, they entered the half scoreless.

The start of the second half started slow, up until the 55th minute when Paul Black made a swerving run into the 18-yard-box. Pedro Mendes followed suit a minute later and the team earned three consecutive corners starting in the 58th minute. The experienced Pickens was able to thwart the dangerous attempts.

Whatever Smith said at halftime had an impact. For the majority of the second half, Atlanta pounced on every Rowdies mistake and quickly countered. Tampa Bay’s defense was forced to bail it out time and time again.

Late substitutions of Matt Horth and Shaka Bangura helped to increase pressure on the Rowdies’ back line, but the Silverbacks weren’t able to find a goal before the final whistle. The match ended scoreless, keeping Atlanta in postseason contention.


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