Atlanta Down FC Tampa Bay
Captain Lucas Paulini was a force in the midfield
A season best home crowd of 3,515 came to witness the Silverback’s performance tonight as they defeated FC Tampa Bay at Silverback Park by the score of 2 – 1. The Silverbacks are now unbeaten in 3 straight games breaking Tampa Bay’s 4 game unbeaten streak. The game itself was action packed and illustrated Atlanta’s continued good run of form as they take their 7th point out of 9 for these 3 games. Goals from Junior Sandoval and Ciaran O’Brien were enough for Atlanta to finally get into double digits with 12 points for the season, bringing them even with Montreal on points.
The night was perfect for football with warm, dry weather and Atlanta heated up the action in the 7th minute when Junior Sandoval dispatched a Matt Horth cross to give Atlanta the early lead and plenty of momentum. After the goal, there was end to end action with both squads having plenty of chances to score, but it would be Atlanta to get the next breakthrough in spectacular fashion.
The goal areas of both teams were busy places
Tyler Ruthven put in a long throw in from the right side of the field where Ciaran O’Brien flung his body, head first to power in a header between 2 Tampa Bay defenders and past a flat footed Tampa keeper in goal. The Silverbacks were now flying with a 2 goal lead and plenty of momentum, but Tampa Bay would next take a bite out of the game with a fortuitous attack forward.
The old saying says that the most vulnerable time for a team is just after they have scored. Just minutes after Atlanta’s goal, Aaron King fulfilled this saying as he sped into the Silverbacks area past his marker to slot home Tampa’s goal to make the score 2 – 1 going into the half.
Raphael Cox terrorized Tampa Bay defenders with his pace
The second half began with the same intensity as the first with Tampa Bay having more of the control in the midfield as they put pressure on the Silverbacks goal but they would find AFN Player of the Game Jimmy Maurer, in fine form as he was equal to each challenge though he needed a header off the line from defender Tyler Ruthven to preserve the Silverback lead and eventual victory by the score of 2 – 1.
Next for the Silverbacks will be a away game to Carolina to challenge the high flying Railhawks who seem to be running away with the league. It’s all getting interesting when you consider that Atlanta are only 6 points out of the current playoff race and can make up ground in the balance of the season. It’s all still to play for and the fans of the Silverbacks will have enjoyed the ride so far with a promise of much more to come. AFN will be there to cover all the action.