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Monday, December 11, 2017

ASFC Trust Offered A Spot On Silverbacks Board - By Taylor Peyton

Atlanta Silverbacks FC and The Atlanta Silverbacks Trust recently announced via a joint statement that partial fan ownership could be coming to the club soon. “The Atlanta Silverbacks Football Club and the Atlanta Silverbacks Trust have joined forces to offer an opportunity for partial fan-ownership of the Silverbacks. With this purchase, the Trust would own a 25% stake in the club and have a full voting representative on the Board of Directors of the club, giving the Trust a say in how the club is operated and developed” the opening paragraph of the statement read.

 The statement also cited pre-existing examples of fan ownership in soccer both abroad and domestic. It mentioned the partial fan ownership requirement in Germany, as well as the fact that Barcelona and Real Madrid are entirely fan owned. In America, San Francisco City FC and Minneapolis City SC seem to be the most prevalent examples of fan ownership in American Soccer.

 You can read the statement in full here.

 The response to this announcement has been very positive from Backs fans, ex-players, and several other members of "Soccer Twitter" that don't even necessarily identify themselves as Silverbacks fans. Former Silverbacks Joe Nasco, Matt Horth, and Jimmy Maurer were among the former players to voice their support for the movement. Jimmy Maurer has played for the New York Cosmos since leaving the Silverbacks in 2013 and is still active today, while Joe Nasco and Matt Horth have retired from playing and are currently coaching at their Alma Maters; Birmingham Southern College and Gordon College, respectively. Matt Horth, being the legend that he is, even went so far as to JOIN the Trust!

The ASFC Trust have several different membership options available. An Individual Membership costs $100 and gets you 1 season ticket and one vote in all Trust decisions, a Family Membership costs $250 and gets you 4 season tickets and one vote in all trust decisions. Don't live close enough to Atlanta to justify buying a package that involves the price of season tickets? The Trust has something for you too. An Out of Town Membership costs $50 and still comes with a vote in all Trust decisions. If membership doesn't interest you, then there's also an option to donate any amount you wish to the Trust.

 A goal has been set for the Trust to raise $100,000 to buy a 25% stake. If achieved, this would be a permanent stake. (They will NOT have to come up with $100,000 every year to keep their stake in the club). If the money is successfully raised, all other dues and donation money that follow will also go towards operating costs for the Silverbacks. If the $100k is not successfully raised, the funds that were raised will still go towards operating costs for the Silverbacks. That is the purpose of the Trust, after all. Should the Silverbacks ever fold (the Trust do not plan on that happening as their goal is to strengthen the team for generations to come), the trust would vote on whether or not to start a 100% fan owned club that would most likely start off in the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League.

 I myself have been included in Trust planning discussions since the Spring of 2016 when I started this blog, so I know how serious the group of people in the Trust are about doing whatever they can to help the Silverbacks thrive in this very crowded Soccer market. It is definitely worth getting involved with this cause.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fans Want Atlanta 2018 Group to "Buy The Backs" - By Taylor Peyton

Silverbacks fans have recently been blowing up Atlanta 2018's mentions on twitter trying to convince them to buy the Silverbacks name. For those that don't know "Atlanta 2018" is a group that is attempting to bring an NWSL team, as well as a professional men's team to a brand new sports complex across the street from Stonecrest Mall in Dekalb County. The league and name of the men's team has yet to be announced, but many have speculated it will either be the NASL, or the new NISA. As far as the name goes, many have speculated it'll be a Chiefs reboot, but twitter users have been trying to convince them to buy the Silverbacks name from Boris by tweeting proof of pre-existing fan dedication, linking old stories about past Silverbacks success stories, providing a few pop culture references and memes here and there for comic relief, and one user even referenced Harambe with the hashtag #BuyTheBacks. Here are some examples of the tweets:

Some other notable figures with ties to Atlanta have also gotten in on the movement, including Michael King from 11 Alive (Atlanta's local NBC affiliate), and former Silverbacks Technical Director and Head Coach Eric Wynalda

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Friendly That Won't Fry The Fans - By Taylor Peyton

After the Silverbacks were eliminated from the NPSL playoffs by the New Orleans Jesters, the fans have been left to think what could have been. Expectations were high this year in both the US Open Cup and the NPSL, but the Silverbacks ended up falling short, and it is understandable if it leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. The small consolation for the fans was that there were still friendlies against Lowcountry United at home, and another one against Savannah Clovers on the road. However, that situation has changed, and now the friendlies have a much different outlook. The game against Lowcountry is still going to be played on August 26th at Silverbacks Park, but the away game against Savannah Clovers that was scheduled to be played on August 19th is currently in limbo after the Silverbacks Twitter account announced that it was being rescheduled. Replacing it, is a friendly against the United States Men’s National Under-17 team that is scheduled to kick off at 11 am on Saturday, July 29th, at Silverbacks Park.

There is still a chance of the game against Savannah being played, but the rescheduling is unfortunate for a particular blogger (who will remain anonymous) that was planning to head down there with a bunch of his other Silverback-supporting friends , and spend the weekend in Savannah in addition to watching the team play.

The Friendly against the under-17 US National team was announced at 12:30 pm on Thursday, July 20, just 9 days before it was scheduled to take place. The kickoff time was announced as 11 am, the earliest the Silverbacks have had to kick off since preseason. The advantage to having a kickoff at 11 am is that it won’t be painfully hot like it would be at 5 pm, and the disadvantages of it are… pretty much everything else.

For the under-17 players, this friendly is part of their preparations for their World Cup that is set to take place in October of this year, in India. A few notable names in the squad include Josh Sargent who played in the under-20 World Cup earlier this summer and will be joining Werder Bremen when he turns 18. Nicolas Garcia-Morillo who is property of Atletico Madrid. Chris Durkin who made his debut for DC United last year at age 16. Jean-Julien Foe Nuphaus of Hoffenheim, and Jaylin Lindsey who became the first American born in the 2000s to make his professional debut when he first appeared for Swope Park Rangers of the USL in early 2016.  

A question on the minds of some people is what kind of lineup will the Silverbacks put out against the under-17 team. Will it be the usual suspects, or will it mostly young players whose chances were limited this year? Time will tell, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of lineup Phoday comes up with to approach this game

As far as seeing the under-17 team goes, it’s kind of hit and miss because, for every group of young players, only a few make it big. It’ll be cool to say that you saw the players who did make it big when they were only 16-17 years old, but there will also be the players that fall off to the point where you forget that they exist and you have to check their Wikipedia page to see if they’re still playing, and where they are playing if so. I remember thinking it was a big deal when I saw Ben Spencer play for Indy Eleven against the Silverbacks back in early 2014 while on loan from Molde in Norway, because of his success with youth national teams before then. Fast forward to 2017, he is no longer playing in Europe and is currently far down the pecking order at Toronto FC.

So if you can wake up early enough, head to Silverbacks Park next Saturday morning and take in this somewhat odd, but still intriguing friendly. It’s undetermined if there will be a parking fee or not, but maybe if you catch the parking attendant before he or she has had their coffee, maybe you can sneak past them.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Surely We Won't Lose To The Revs... Right? - By Taylor Peyton

The Silverbacks form as of late has been worrying. Their last win was on June 8, and they have only earned 2 points in their last 4 games. The two draws both took place on the road against Asheville, and Birmingham respectively. In both losses at home against Asheville and New Orleans, the Silverbacks had a 1-0 lead and ended up losing the game 2-1.

The encouraging thing for the Silverbacks is that the Georgia Revolution still have not won a game this season. Their worst loss came this past Tuesday when they were annihilated 7-0 by Chattanooga at Finley Stadium. They have lost 5 straight games, and their last point came from a 2-2 draw against Asheville on June 10.

To add insult to injury, it looks their starting goalkeeper, former Silverback Bryce Billington, will not be playing in the game on Saturday. He made a post on Instagram thanking the Revs, and saying his next stop was London on Saturday. Before joining the Silverbacks, Bryce spent some time in Aberdeen, so it’s not far-fetched to think that he might be going to London for a trial with an English club.

Last time the Revs and Silverbacks faced off, the Silverbacks were victorious by a score of 1-0, after only having played against Carolina United about 23 hours beforehand. Avery Shepherd scored the game’s lone goal with a diving header, and Thomas Hunter made several great saves to preserve his clean sheet.

The history of the Silverbacks vs. Revolution rivalry is a bit complicated. Mainly because of the differentiation with the old NASL first time, and the old Reserves team that is now the First team. But if you want to go back to the last time the Revolution beat the Silverbacks, it was on  June 20, 2015 when they beat the Reserves 3-2 in Conyers. The weird thing about that game was that it was 0-0 at halftime, but then 5 goals were scored in the second half.

The scenarios are very simple for both teams. The Silverbacks are already in the playoffs, and a win over the Revolution would guarantee a home game on Tuesday against Asheville, and the Revolution would finish the season winless for the first time in their history. A win for the Revolution however, would lead to them avoiding that embarrassing record, and it would open up the possibility of the Silverbacks having to travel to Asheville on Tuesday, in addition to having to travel to New Orleans in Friday if they win their first playoff game.   

The Silverbacks are favorites in this game regardless, but these last 4 games have been tough to watch, and the disappointment from the players has been evident. This is their chance to have a statement win heading into the playoffs. A win's a win no matter what, but a lopsided victory in favor of the Silverbacks would do wonders for morale heading into the playoffs. That being said, the Silverbacks ended the 2016 regular season with two draws against Myrtle Beach Mutiny and Carolina Discoveries, only to humiliate the Carolina Railhawks 4-0 at Georgia Gwinnett College in their first playoff game (one year ago today, to be exact). So maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if it was only a 1-0 or 2-1 win.

Is it rational to feel nervous about a game against a winless team when the team you support has also been going through a rough period as of late? Of course. A large part of me feels optimistic because I’ve seen the Silverbacks play at their best, and I know what they’re capable of, but these last few games have got me feeling down so I am somewhat worried that the Revs might somehow find a way to win. The reason the games are played on the pitch instead of on paper is that nobody knows what’s really going to happen. The only way to see it all unfold is come to Silverbacks Park on Saturday, July 8.

Introducing: Planet Of The Backs TV!

When I came up with the idea to start a blog about the Silverbacks last year, my goal was to provide Silverbacks-related content for to those who wanted it. I knew there wasn’t going to be any coverage from the AJC or any other newspaper since they were going down to the NPSL, so I took it upon myself to try to be a provider in regards to such content. I kind of underestimated just how many people fit into the demographic though. Planet Of The Backs is closing in on 8,000 page views in total, which might not seem like too much to some, but it’s gained more recognition than anything I have ever done before, so it blows my mind.

Have I succeeded in accomplishing my goal? I think I have. Maybe the impact that the blog has made this year isn’t as big as the impact it made last year. I admit that is because of my own doing, but I still have a great desire to give diehard Silverbacks fans something to look at when it’s not match day, but they really need their fix. Which is why in addition to getting the blog back on track, I have decided to extend Planet Of The Backs to video format, by creating Planet Of The Backs TV.

Make no mistake, this is not a transition from written content, to video content. Such a change seems to have become a trend lately, and as someone who wants to make a career out of writing in some way, shape, or form, it is a bit troubling. It is possible for the two to coexist, however. Personally, I think it’s a requirement for the effort to be put into both of them, for the best content to be created.

Here is the link for the Youtube channel. Make sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss the great videos that I have planned following the game against the Georgia Revolution! Thank you all in advance for your support, it is because of this that Planet Of The Backs is being expanded in such a way. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Taylor Peyton

Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada's Contributions To The Silverbacks - By Taylor Peyton

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s independence with fireworks, food, and beer, our neighbors to the north are probably just now recovering from their Canada Day hangovers. Canada became an independent country on July 1st, 1867. In Canada’s 150-year-old history, they’ve offered many great things to the whole world, not just Hockey and Maple Syrup. Don’t believe me? Just have a look at some of the great Canadian Players that have played for the Silverbacks over the years

Let me just say right away, the research behind this article was pretty challenging because there simply haven’t been that many Canadians that have played for the Silverbacks. I spent this past weekend asking around, and the responses I got from the likes of Westside 109 members, Justin Hanover, and former Front Office members were pretty mixed. Some 109 members were able to provide me with the names of Women’s players, and Justin informed me that Douglas Diwa was Canadian. Me having already become a fan by the time Kyle Porter joined the Silverbacks, I didn’t really need an explanation on that one. But what you see is the results of my research. If you’re a Canadian, who played for the Ruckus/Silverbacks but aren’t mentioned; first of all, my sincerest apologies. Second of all, maybe an interview with a “forgotten Canadian Silverback” can be a good piece for Canada’s 151st birthday next year… just a thought.

Sharolta Nonen
Vancouver’s Sharolta Nonen was no stranger to Atlanta before joining the Silverbacks. After finishing her College Career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, she played for the Atlanta Beat from 2001-03. By the time she had returned to Atlanta in 2005 to play for the Silverbacks, she had already played in her second World Cup. She scored 1 goal in 22 appearances with the Silverbacks and was just recently named the head coach of FIU’s Women’s Soccer team.

Christine Latham
In Between scoring three goals at the 2003 World Cup, and later working for Fox Sports at the end of her playing career, Christine Latham was a prolific goalscorer for the Silverbacks. Over a 4 year span from 2005-08, she scored 23 goals in 49 appearances.

Candace Chapman
As opposed to Latham and Nonen, who were already stars before joining the Silverbacks, Chapman played for the Silverbacks as her career was just getting started. After graduating from Notre Dame, she joined the Silverbacks in 2005 and made 10 appearances. Since then she has played in two World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and has was won two Bronze Medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics Games.

Alvin Hudson

Alvin Hudson was a bit of an A-League / USL journeyman. A Chicago Fire prospect who didn’t break through in MLS, Hudson had stints Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Vancouver before landing in Atlanta. Hudson only played one season with the Silverbacks in 2007 in which they made it to the championship game and fell to Seattle. He made 7 appearances for the Silverbacks.

Kyle Porter
Porter was one of many exciting signings before the 2015 Silverbacks. He had made his name playing for FC Edmonton in the NASL, and then DC United where he won the US Open Cup in 2013 over Real Salt Lake, who had knocked the Silverbacks earlier in the tournament. It’s safe to say that justice was done in the end. Well, it wasn’t so much justice as it was the thing that I wanted to happen, but it’s basically the same thing. Porter played in almost every game for the Silverbacks in the 2015 campaign and managed to score two goals. He mainly played on the wing but did have to play a few games as a striker. Since leaving the Silverbacks at the end of the 2015 season, he has had stints with Ottawa in 2016, and now the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Douglas Diwa
An unsung hero on the 2016 Atlanta Silverbacks squad that won the NPSL South Atlantic championship, Diwa was considered to be the best player in Quebec at U-16 and U-17 levels. For the Silverbacks he was an explosive winger with excellent dribbling skills that would terrorize defenders. This season he trained with the Silverbacks with a little bit, but he hasn’t been seen in a few weeks. My understanding is that it’s possible that the 22-year-old is turning his focus towards his education. If this is the case, I’m sure Silverbacks fans will wish him the best. But if it;s not the case, hopefully, he’ll be back at the Park playing again soon!

Melissa Tancredi
I know I messed up the chronological order by putting Tancredi last on this list, but I felt it was appropriate because due to her Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tancredi is the most recent Silverbacks-alum to achieve a significant honor. Like Chapman, Tancredi joined the Silverbacks in 2005 after graduating from Notre Dame. She played two seasons in Atlanta before heading on a journey that would take her to places such as New York, St. Louis, Sweden, and Chicago, before she retired in 2017 with two Olympic Bronze medals, (2012 and 2016) and 22 goals in 107 appearances for Canada to her name.

I hope you all enjoyed this brief history of Canada’s connection to the Silverbacks. It was a fun piece to write, as I always enjoy doing research about the history of the team, and it was also a chance to temporarily forget about the rough patch that the current team is currently going through. I’m sorry about my lack of activity, but other things have been taking up my time, but Jordan Coker has been doing an excellent job of writing Previews and Reviews of matches on the official website, so shoutout to him for picking up my slack. I promise there won’t be another dry spell on the blog from now on, and that includes the offseason. Thanks to everyone who was patient with me. One more thing, the Silverbacks last regular season game is Saturday, July 8 against the Georgia Revolution. The fireworks might not be in the sky, but it’s very possible there will be fireworks on the pitch. Enjoy your 4th of July, and make sure you come to Silverbacks Park on Saturday!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Silverbacks Stick A Fork In The Force - By Taylor Peyton

The Silverbacks defeated the Knoxville Force 2-0 on the Saturday leading up to Memorial Day. DZ Harmon broke the deadlock 41st minute, and Avery Shephard scored just before the halftime whistle. The game was initially a defensive struggle. The Silverbacks had the better chances early, but whether it was a save by the keeper or a clearance off the line, they were thwarted time and time again, until DZ Harmon made it 1-0, that is. A year after graduating from South Gwinnett High School, Harmon now has his first goal for the Silverbacks. The Silverbacks weren’t done yet, as Avery Shepherd made it 2-0 just before halftime, with Martin Cortes providing the assist. What made this goal even more interesting, was that Avery had only been on the pitch for about 12 minutes before scoring the goal. After being left out of the starting lineup, he came on as a sub for Ferrety Sousa in the 33rd minute. His goal on Saturday was his 3rd of the year and was also the third consecutive game in which he’s scored. It’s an impressive streak for the recent Clayton State University graduate who is in his second season with the Silverbacks. Another stellar second half performance from the backline and keeper Thomas Hunter, the Silverbacks kept their third clean sheet of the season. Hunter made several impressive saves and perhaps the biggest moment of the second half was the Silverbacks foiling a 2-on-1 chance for Knoxville in the 87th minute. The Silverbacks were well in control after those two goals late in the first half, but it was still a very tough, physical game. The day after the win, captain Mitch Garcia posted a photo of his face looking rough on Instagram (@mitchinski) with the caption saying “When People only use their elbows to go up for headers. #KnoxvillePlayersNeedToLearn #2-0SilverbacksVictory” This reaction by Mitch made it seem like it went on throughout the game, but there was a particular incident where he took an elbow and had to go off momentarily to get treated. The Knoxville player that elbowed him did not get a yellow card, big surprise there! The Silverbacks next play Knoxville Thursday, June 8th, and if other Silverbacks players were also victims of elbows or near elbows, tensions might run high in that match. The Silverbacks are now 4 points ahead of Knoxville, but a 3-2 victory by Asheville over Carolina means they only have a 1 point lead in the race for the Eastern Division of the Southeast Conference. The Silverbacks will travel to Charlotte next weekend to take on Carolina United. As of May 29th, Carolina United are still looking for that ever-elusive first win in 2017. They were on their way when they had a 2-1 lead of the Georgia Revolution in Hampton, but former Silverback Borfor Carr scored in the dying moments to make it 2-2. Ironically, Carolina will be on the road taking on the Knoxville Force on Tuesday, May 30th, before heading back to The Queen City in preparation for their match against the Silverbacks. Unfortunately, the Silverbacks’ next home game isn’t until June 24th, so keep your eyes peeled for streams of the three away games the Silverbacks will be playing between now and then. If there are none to be found, there’s always Twitter updates. Regardless, there will be in-depth summaries of every game on Planet Of The Backs, so keep an eye out.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Struggling Silverbacks Look To Knock Down Knoxville - By Taylor Peyton

It hasn’t been the best string of results for the Silverbacks. They were knocked out of the US Open Cup by Charleston on May 17 and then took a 2-1 loss on the road against New Orleans a few days later on May 21. The Silverbacks also lost a friendly against Peachtree City MOBA, but a lot of the regulars weren’t playing, and it was just a friendly so not too much stock can be put into that. The primary focus is for this Saturday’s NPSL matchup against Knoxville Force at Silverbacks Park.

The Force are coming off a 3-2 win over Asheville City on Thursday, May 25. It was their first win of the season after two draws against Carolina United, and Asheville City. They currently stand second in the NPSL Southeast Eastern Division, behind the Silverbacks. Ashley Kelynack is Knoxville’s top scorer with two. Both of his goals were scored against Asheville. One in Thursday’s win, and one in the draw that took place on May 19.

The weather in New Orleans was less than favorable last Saturday. It rained throughout the night and second half was delayed by lightning. The Silverbacks struck first with another goal from Avery Shephard in the 19th minute. Shephard became the Silverbacks leading scorer in the NPSL after that goal. Unfortunately, it was not enough as goals from David Evans and Nathan Heath led the Jesters to a 2-1 win over the Silverbacks.

Following the loss in New Orleans, the Silverbacks were in Peachtree City on Wednesday, for a friendly against Peachtree City MOBA. With the parking lot full of Golf Carts (I mean, I wasn’t there so I can’t confirm this, but I used to live in Fayetteville, so I know how those people are with their Golf Carts), the Silverbacks and MOBA both sent out lineups with very few of their usual starters. Kemar Brown, Ebrima Njie, and Fabio Fernandes suited up for the Silverbacks, but the rest were players not usually seen on the pitch. One of those players was Yacinte Hermann, who scored the Silverbacks lone goal that made it 1-1 at the time. MOBA’s Daniel Shaw scored back to back goals in the 62nd and 63rd minutes to make it a final score 3-1.

It’s not exactly a huge deal that the Silverbacks lost the friendly against MOBA, but the two back to back losses in competitive games against Charleston and New Orleans are a little bit concerning, especially given the fact that most Silverbacks fans were expecting the team to rebound in New Orleans after being defeated by the Battery.

This game against Knoxville is a must win for the Silverbacks because not only would a loss allow Knoxville to overtake them in the standings, but could also possibly open the door for Asheville to leapfrog them too. The NPSL season is very short, and with Knoxville and Asheville knocking on their door, the Silverbacks have realistically used up all of their allowed slip ups this season if they want to not only win their division but also earn the right to home-field advantage when the playoffs start.

As it currently stands, The Silverbacks are the favorites to win the Eastern Division, Knoxville and Asheville are respectable contenders, but the Revs and Carolina United, however, are on their way to becoming evidence that the NPSL needs relegation.

First place is on the line. Does anything else need to be said? Kickoff is 5 pm at Silverbacks Park. Hopefully, Memorial Day Weekend traffic won’t make your commute too troublesome, but if a 20-minute slowdown on 285 is the price to pay for a Saturday at the Park, so be it!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Very Abridged History of the Atlanta Silverbacks in the US Open Cup - By Steven Bayley

The Atlanta Silverbacks have had a long, and occasionally illustrious history in the US Open Cup.  The Silverbacks first Open Cup match really depends on where you draw the line.  Most Silverbacks supporters recognize the continuity of the clubs history under all names associated with the Silverbacks, and for the first team, that means the Atlanta Ruckus.  On June 14th, 1995, 22 years ago next month, the Atlanta Ruckus beat the Tampa Bay Cyclones 4:2.  

More specifically, the rivalry between the Atlanta Silverbacks and Charleston Battery, as contested through the USL regular season and the Southern Derby Cup, has been well documented elsewhere, and although the two teams share a long history, as far as the Silverbacks first team, they have never met in the US Open Cup.  But if we’re going to include (and rightly so) the Ruckus in the Silverbacks history, then we must also include another Silverbacks ancestor club, Atlanta FC.  The current incarnation of the Silverbacks first team evolved directly out of the old Silverbacks Reserves, the NPSL team that served the NASL team with an expanded player pool and planted the seeds for local rivalries with current NPSL clubs like the Georgia Revolution, Chattanooga FC, Knoxville Force, and the New Orleans Jesters, even if Silverbacks fan support didn’t always follow the Reserves to the same extent that they did the first team in the NASL.  

In the case of Chattanooga and Georgia Revolution, the NASL Atlanta Silverbacks played each twice in the US Open Cup, going a combined 4 and 0 against the two clubs.  Most recently, on May 27th 2015 The Silverbacks traveled to Finley Stadium in Chattanooga where it took an 89th minute Shaka Bangura penalty equalizer for the Silverbacks to stave off elimination and a Jaime Chavez winner in the 30 minute overtime session to seal the game.  This match was much closer than the previous years Open Cup meeting, also in Chattanooga.  On May 28th 2014 the Silverbacks kicked off their historic US Open Cup run to the Quarterfinals with a 5 nothing beatdown of Chattanooga FC before coming home to Atlanta to knock off Real Salt Lake, going out to Colorado to see out a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids with 8 men after the infamous Jaime Chavez stomping incident, and eventually falling at home 1:3 to the Chicago Fire.  

The Previous two years, 2012 and 2013, saw the Silverbacks open their US Open Cup participation with trips to neighboring East side Atlanta suburb Conyers, GA to take on the Georgia Revolution.  The Silverbacks won the May 22, 2012 encounter 1:0, a game in which Raphael Cox scored the winner for the Silverbacks. Poku, in the game which put him on the Silverbacks radar and gave him his shot in the pros, played for the Georgia Revolution against the Silverbacks and had a Penalty saved by Joe Nasco.  This game is also critical to note because it set up the infamous selling of hosting rights by the Silverbacks to Seattle, a move which demoralized the clubs fan base, resulted in a 5:1 Seattle beating of the Backs at Starfire in the next round, and some would contend ignited a fallout from which the Silverbacks have never fully recovered as a club.  A footnote to this story is that after Boris sold the hosting rights away, the fans were promised some kind of feature special event friendly as recompense, and 5 years later that event has yet to take place.  The May 21st 2013 meeting was just as competitive, with Poku again featuring for the Georgia Revolution and The Silverbacks holding on to a 3-2 lead in the second half to see the game out thanks to two goals from Ruben Luna and one from Pablo Cruz.  That match set up the hard fought 3:2 loss away to Real Salt Lake on May 28th 2013, which in turn set the stage for the Silverbacks belief that they could knock off the MLS side, and as we know they got the opportunity to do just that the following year.  

So how does all of that relate to the Silverbacks Open Cup history with the Charleston Battery you ask?  Hey, thanks for getting us back on topic.  So if the Silverbacks Reserves preceded the Silverbacks as we know them know, Atlanta FC was an independent local club that competed in both the NPSL and USASA sanctioned leagues in the mid-late 2000’s.  Eventually, prior to the 2011 season, coinciding with the re-start of the NASL Silverbacks, the local independent club Atlanta FC rebranded to become the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves, but 2 years before that, on June 9th 2009 that same Atlanta FC club, competing for their first and only time as Atlanta FC in the US Open Cup after qualifying through the USASA open track, lost 2:0 to the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, in a match that may have been a foreshadowing of their future club’s culture, and saw 3 Atlanta players ejected from the game, forcing Atlanta to finish with 8 men.  

In total, the Atlanta Silverbacks and ancestor clubs have played 27 US Open Cup matches, with tomorrows 3:30 showdown with Charleston being the clubs 28th all time appearance in the United States only truly open football competition.  Overall, the Ruckus/Silverbacks are 12-12-2 in the US Open Cup all time, and 12-13-2 if you include the Atlanta FC vs. Charleston Battery match in the Silverbacks historical tally.  Strictly competing as the Atlanta Silverbacks, the club is 11-11-2 in the competition, dating back to the its first Open Cup appearance as the Silverbacks, a 2:0 win for the Silverbacks on June 26th 2002 over the Memphis Express, after a 7 year hiatus for the Ruckus/Silverbacks between 1995 and 2002 due to consistent historical ineptitude and the old US Open Cup format which was much smaller and required qualification even for professional teams all the way through to the MLS level.  

While controversy and difficulties have always seemed to surround the club in all its forms, its persistence in the face of adversity puts it in a small group of clubs in the United States with a truly independent fighting spirit, which has both endeared itself to some fans as well as alienated others over the years.  While the outcome of tomorrows historic 3:30 PM on a Wednesday US Open Cup match against the Charleston Battery remains to be seen, one thing is for sure.  A new chapter in Silverbacks Open Cup history will be written tomorrow, and for those that have stuck with the club through thick and thin, anticipation levels are at an all time high.  

Steve Bayley
Atlanta Silverbacks supporter, Non League America founder
May 16, 2017

Table of All Time Atlanta Silverbacks US Open Cup participation

Atlanta Ruckus 4
Tampa Bay Cyclones 2
Richmond Kickers 2
Atlanta Ruckus 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Memphis Express 0
Dallas Burn 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Wilmington Hammerheads 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 3
Carolina Dynamo 2
Kansas City Wizards 4
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Des Moines Menace 5
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Wilmington Hammerheads 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 10
Azzurri 0
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Charlotte Eagles 0
FC Dallas 1 (4:3) PK
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Atlanta Silverbacks (USL-1) 2 (5:4 PK win)
Austin Aztex U23 (PDL) 2
Miami FC (USL-1) 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 0
Charleston Battery 2
Atlanta FC 0
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Georgia Revolution 0
Seattle Sounders 5
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 3
Georgia Revolution 2
Real Salt Lake 3
Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 5
Chattanooga FC 0
Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Real Salt Lake 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Colorado Rapids 1
Chicago Fire 3
Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Atlanta Silverbacks 2 (AET)
Chattanooga FC 1
New York Red Bulls 3
Atlanta Silverbacks 0
Reading United AC 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 0
Atlanta Silverbacks 4
SC United Bantams 1