Silverbacks hang on for second win of season

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Atlanta Silverbacks held off a late surge from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night, earning a 3-2 win at Lockhart Stadium.

The Silverbacks (2-11-2, 8 points) faced an uphill battle early in the game after the home team struck just seven minutes after the opening whistle. Strikers midfielder Eduardo Coudet caught the Silverbacks off-guard with a quick free kick that found forward Abe Thompson in front of the goal. Thompson converted Coudet’s pass with ease from eight yards out, giving the Strikers (3-4-8, 17 points) the 1-0 lead.

The Strikers’ advantage lasted just 10 minutes, though. Silverbacks forward Junior Sandoval dribbled through the Strikers defense on the right side before finding midfielder Lucas Paulini in the middle of the penalty box. The Silverbacks' captain slotted his effort past Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser from 12 yards out to even the score at 1-1.

The Strikers had a number of first-half scoring opportunities but could not convert. Silverbacks midfielder Ciaran O'Brien gave Atlanta the advantage in the 32nd minute. O’Brien sent a 25-yard free kick over the Strikers wall, curling his shot into the side netting of Glaeser’s far post to give his team the 2-1 lead going into halftime.

The Silverbacks opened the second half with confidence, and in the 62nd minute, they extended their lead. Forward Matt Horth was released on a breakaway, after a pass from Sandoval; Horth scored his fourth goal of the season to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead.

Despite the two-goal deficit, the Strikers continued to cause problems for the Silverbacks defense. After narrowly missing a pair of scoring chances, the Strikers found the net, with midfielder Bryan Arguez launching a 30-yard effort past diving goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.

Strikers defender Cristian Arrieta received a straight red card in the 84th minute for a kick to the face of Silverbacks player. The home team pushed all of its personnel forward in search of a game-tying goal, but the Atlanta defense stood tall, earning the Silverbacks their second win of the season.