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Silverbacks to host W-League playoffs

A showdown between two of the W-League's best women's soccer teams is brewing this weekend in Atlanta, but first those two squads have to win tonight.

The host Atlanta Silverbacks open the playoffs today with an 8 p.m. match against the Long Island Rough Riders, with the winner moving on to Saturday's Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the Washington Freedom-Charlotte Eagles match. Charlotte and Washington play the 5 p.m. semifinal today at Silverbacks Park.

Atlanta has the W-League's best record at 13-0-1 and the league's top goal scorer in Sarah Steinmann, a Providence Christian grad who has 19 goals. The Silverbacks also have another capable scorer in Christine Latham (13 goals) for their game with Long Island (10-3-2).

The other semifinal tonight pits defending W-League champion Washington, led by former U.S. National Team member Christie Welsh (nine goals, league-best 81 shots), against Charlotte. The Eagles feature Kelly Schmedes, whose 14 goals rank second in the league to Steinmann.

This weekend's playoffs in Atlanta is a precursor to the upcoming W-League semifinals and finals, which will be in Virginia Beach.

SideBar: WOMEN'S SOCCER

What: W-League Eastern Conference semifinals and finals

When: Today-Saturday

Where: Silverbacks Park

Tickets: $20 for weekend pass, $10 for today's doubleheader, $15 for Saturday's final

Schedule:

Today's games

· 5 p.m. - Charlotte Eagles vs. Washington Freedom

· 8 p.m. - Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Long Island Rough Riders

Saturday's final

· 8 p.m. - Winners of today's semifinal games