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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Silverbacks Look To Rebound Against Bantams - By Taylor Peyton

It wasn’t the start to the season that the Silverbacks were looking for as they were defeated 2-1 by the Birmingham Hammers. The Hammers took the lead on the first corner kick of the game when Alex Brown put the ball in the net. Joao Johanning Mora tied the game in the 67th minute, but the Hammers would retake the lead just two minutes later from an impressive free kick scored by David Valverde, which proved to be enough for the Hammers to take the three points at Silverbacks Park

The Silverbacks attack wasn’t too strong coming out of the gate. There was some decent passing between players out wide but a lack of noteworthy chances.  The Hammers took advantage in the 17th minute when they were given the first corner of the game. The ball found its way to Alex Brown who made no mistake and gave the Hammers a 1-0 lead. After the Hammers’ goal, the Silverbacks tried to tie the game before halftime to no avail. Chances from the likes of Abdul and Adnan Bangura, Mitch Garcia, as well as Joao, all missed the target.

Early in the Second half, the Silverbacks thought they had tied the game after a designed set piece led to Abraham Lansana putting the ball into the net, but it was ruled offside. The chances that came shortly after that disallowed goal still did not come to fruition for the Silverbacks. It wasn’t until the 66th minute that the Silverbacks tied the game after Joao put the ball past Birmingham keeper Bradley Louis.

Just two minutes later the Hammers were awarded a free kick, which David Valverde impressively placed around the wall and out of Ameth Kante’s reach. Things went from bad to worse for the Silverbacks when the goalscorer Joao was both injured and shown red after a challenge on Bradley Louis in the 83rd minute.

The Silverbacks would not be able to recover from being down by a goal with only ten men, losing the game 2-1. It was a disappointing loss, but now the focus has shifted to the first round of the US Open Cup, where the Silverbacks will be taking on SC United Bantams at Silverbacks Park, with the match kicking off at 3:30 PM.

I know a lot of you will probably need reassurance, and unfortunately, since I'm writing this I guess it’s my job to be the one to provide it. Yes, the Silverbacks are having their US Open Cup game at 3:30 pm in the afternoon, on a weekday.

This is most likely a product of scheduling conflicts with the Park, which is something we saw last season with the playoff game against Carolina Railhawks NPSL. That game ended up being played at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville instead of Silverbacks Park so it could start at 7 instead of 3:30. A decent sized crowd was on hand in Gwinnett County, the Silverbacks won 4-0, and fun was had by all (except the Railhawks players but nobody cares about them), so why not do the same thing this year for a game that is just as, if not more important than that game last year? It doesn’t make sense, and I do really feel for the dedicated Silverbacks fans that won’t be able to make it because they’re working like normal people, but it is what it is at this point, so we’re just going to have to live with it and hope that it doesn’t happen again in the future. Okay rant over, now back to your regularly scheduled preview

The Silverbacks opponents, SC United Bantams, have played in the South Atlantic Division of the PDL since their debut season in 2012. They are based in Greenwood, South Carolina and play their home games at Lander Soccer Complex. They finished third in their division last year, earning the right to play in the Eastern Conference Divisional Qualifiers where they lost 4-1 to Carolina Dynamo.

This year, they’ve only just released their roster and have not provided any further information about their players. Not even their position is made clear. So it’s hard to determine just how good they are, but regardless, the Silverbacks are still going into this game as favorites. The Bantams weren’t in action this past Saturday as they don’t start PDL play until May 23rd.

The stakes are really high because if the Silverbacks win, not only do they advance, but in the second round they will host Charleston Battery, who are regarded by many as the Silverbacks’ biggest rival. For many years they competed for the Southern Derby Cup, which is said to be the first regional cup competition to be formed in America. The Silverbacks and the Battery, along with a few other various clubs based in the Carolinas, every year from 2000 up until 2008 when the Silverbacks withdrew from the USL and went on Hiatus. The competition still exists today, but perhaps it’s not the same without the Silverbacks.

As for the Silverbacks and Battery, they last played in a friendly at Silverbacks Park in 2012. The Silverbacks won 1-0 on a goal scored by Lucas Paulini. There were also dual red cards in the 67th minute, with one player from each team being sent off.

The Silverbacks have two other games this week, so Wednesday would be a good time to start winning. If you can make it to Silverbacks Park at stupid o’clock ( I know that’s not what the expression means, but I’m changing the definition for this scenario) for the US Open Cup Match, that’s great!  The more, the merrier. If not, hopefully, there will be a live stream you can watch if your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder. There’s always Twitter if all else fails. Regardless of what hand you are dealt with, try your best to enjoy your Wednesday, and look for a review of the game in question, as well as a seperate preview of Friday and Saturday's games on Planet Of The Backs shortly after.

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