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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Dejecting Draw And A Boneheaded Boris Decision

Before we begin our regularly scheduled blog post, I would just like to take a moment to say that sometimes the hardest part of doing this blog is having to even think about what went wrong after travelling to an away game and having vast amounts of fun even if the result wasn't a win, but I suppose it comes with the territory. The Atlanta Silverbacks shared honors with Greenville FC in a game that ended 1-1 on Saturday at the campus of Furman University.

The Silverbacks had a chance to take the lead early when they were awarded a penalty, but Keka was unable to convert as his shot was saved by Greenville's Paul Tyson. The Silverbacks would later take the lead through a Sherriff Suma goal in the 34th minute, so not all was lost.

The Silverbacks were able to hold onto the lead until the 71st minute when Greenville's Quinn McNeill scored from about 20 yards out to equalize the score. The game would end that way but not without some controversy. In the 89th minute a small altercation started after what appeared to be a dispute about a Greenville playing staying down on the ground, a Silverbacks player yelling at them to get up, goalkeeper Paul Tyson shoving said Silverbacks player, and then it further escalating to the point where the Greenville bench players all stood up and nearly ran onto the field.

Take that description with a grain of salt because I was on the complete other side of the field so maybe someone who was closer to where the skirmish occurred might have seen it differently. But that's my recollection of it.

In the end, only the Silverbacks' Ebrima Njie was dismissed from the game.

Ultimately, the Silverbacks missed too many opportunities to increase their lead, and then after Greenville equalized they had a lot of the better chances in the dying minutes up until that dust-up mentioned above which more than likely killed any chance of either team scoring another goal.

Next up for the Silverbacks is another game against Georgia Revolution on Wednesday June 6, this time at Silverbacks Park. Unfortunately it was announced recently that the kickoff time from this game would be changed from 7 pm to 5 pm, much to the annoyance of many Silverbacks fans.

According to a source, a scheduling conflict between Boris and the team first arose a few weeks prior. The initial proposed solution was to change the date of the game to July 8 so they could appease Boris and still play at 7pm. Unfortunately the date changed also needed to be approved by the Revolution ,and the NPSL themselves. One of which appeared to not approve of this change.

A popular talking point in situations that involve kickoff times being changed because Boris refuses to help the team, is the fact that there are many other possible venues that the Silverbacks could move their game to in such events. It is possible that Phoday was in discussion with other sites, but nothing came to fruition so playing the game at 5 pm was the only option that remained, despite the disappointment of everyone except Boris.

As far as the Revs themselves go, they were in New Orleans this past weekend where they were handed a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Jesters, with Isaac Promise scoring their lone goal. The Revolution continue to fall further down the standings. In first place just a week ago, they are now in 6th place only ahead of Greenville, and Emerald Force.

The Silverbacks currently sit 5th in the standings, which makes them safe in the playoff race, but it could jeopardize their chances of hosting a playoff game. With this in mind, it seems bragging rights aren't the only thing at stake. If you can find a way to make it Silverbacks Park despite the inconvenient kickoff time, it would be worth your time because this game is bound to be interesting.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Silverbacks Look Strong Against "Rejuvenated" Revs

On a humid Wednesday night in McDonough, Georgia, Silverbacks fans from all sides of Metro Atlanta were treated to a dominant 5-0 win by their team over local rivals Georgia Revolution.

Henry County High School is the third home for the Revolution in as many seasons. Regardless of where the games are played they have still been unable to beat the Silverbacks. This season's squad looked stronger on paper, and has already improved from last season by winning a game, yet they were unable to have any success against the Silverbacks that night.

With Theo Blachon in net, and a starting backline of Manuel Moreno, Abdul Bangura, Mo Issahaku, and Ryan Marcano the Silverbacks defense thwarted every Revs attack, the few times they managed to get past the holding midfield pair of Lansana and Oliveira, that is.

The Silverbacks struck first very early in the match when a long ball was controlled very well by Keka, who passed to Joao, who passed to Suma, who passed back to Joao who provided a clinical finish in only the 6th minute.

It wouldn't be the only goal that Silverbacks captain Sherriff Suma would record an assist for as he would later deliver a free kick that met the head of Keka only 5 minutes later. Keka's header went very high and descended slowly but still managed to drop at the right time and sneak into the net.

Keka would return the favor in the 31st minute after getting by a Revolution defender and passing the ball to Sherriff Suma who would go on to score the Silverbacks' third goal on the night. Suma's shot ending up hitting a Georgia Revolution defender but he wasn't in a position to clear the shot off the line so it still ended up in the back of the net. Regardless, it looked like he was standing completely over the line so it was always going to be a goal, and it was always going to be credited to Suma.

The Silverbacks fourth, and arguably most satisfying goal of the night came in the 66th minute when a long ball from Joao was controlled by Keka who took on the lone defender in pursuit of him, made him look foolish by making him fall, going around him, then doing something similar to the keeper, and then walking the ball into the net.

The Silverbacks fifth and final goal was scored by Nyambi Jabang in the 76th minute after he received the ball in his own half and beat three Revolution defenders. A few minutes prior, Jabang was set to take a free kick but slipped while running up to hit it, so one could say that him scoring a goal was a very satisfying moment for not just him, but the fans that also felt a little bit of sympathy for him.

It was a great performance for the members of the Atlanta Ultras and Westside 109 that made the journey to the Southside, as well as other Silverbacks fans that were in attendance. This performance was a great momentum builder going into Saturday when the Silverbacks travel to Greenville for their first meeting against Greenville FC, a trip that many Silverback fans are likely to make.

After the tough 1-0 loss to Asheville last weekend, Phoday was disappointed but still confident that the team was capable of turning it around. "Sometimes the reality check comes early in the season. We just have to shake it off and get back to work. We'll be fine." It's possible that the dominating performances over the Revolution, and even the Emerald Force are what we can expect from the Silverbacks throughout the remainder of the season. Maybe Asheville just had their number in those two games. It's possible the Silverbacks will meet them again come playoff time so that might be a problem in itself, but that's a long way away so for now it's best to continue to hope for the best, and enjoy it when the best of this team does present itself like it did Wednesday night.

The Silverbacks' next game is Saturday June 2nd on the road against Greenville FC, the first meting between the two team. Some of the notable players on their roster include Jose Cubillan who played against the Silverbacks in the US Open Cup with SC United Bantams last year, former Silverbacks player Willie Hunt, and Paul Tyson who currently attends Georgia State. Their last game was a 1-1 draw against the Georgia Revolution at home in which their only goal was an own goal by a Revolution player. Prior to that they suffered a heavy 5-2 defeat at the hands of Emerald Force at home. Kickoff for saturday's game is set for 7 pm at Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium on the campus of Furman University.