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.
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