Silverbacks show signs of life in opening-game tie

ATLANTA -- Coming off a four-win campaign in 2011, the Atlanta Silverbacks started this season with a point in the standings thanks to a 0-0 tie against San Antonio on Saturday at a sold-out Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

"We didn't win, but I think we won a lot of confidence," Alex Pineda Chacon said after his first game as head coach. "We created many opportunities to score, but unfortunately we cannot put it in."

The Silverbacks were shorthanded at forward for the opener. Matt Horth was out with an injury, Stephen Ademolu has yet to arrive in town, and Reinaldo Navia has been with the team for just a couple of days and played just 14 minutes Saturday.

Despite that, Atlanta put together a lot of scoring chances. The Silverbacks earned 10 corners to the Scorpions' four. They attempted 11 shots to San Antonio's five.

"The other good thing is defensively we're very strong," Chacon said. "They created (just a few) chances the whole game. We dominated most of the time in the game."

Atlanta's best chance of the night was early in the second half. Danilo Turcios sent a ball past the defenders to a streaking Nico Colaluca in the 48th minute, and Colaluca had a one-on-one chance with Scorpions goalkeeper Pat Hannigan. But Colaluca's shot was weak and off to the right, keeping the game scoreless.

On the other end of the field, newcomer Daniel Illyes was stellar in goal for Atlanta. The Hungarian made several exceptional saves in the back, including when he swatted a shot by Kevin Harmse over the crossbar in the 23rd minute.

"Thank you for defenders," Illyes said. "They made a pretty tough job (for San Antonio's offense). I'm really glad to make this clean sheet."

Shane Moroney was one of the key offensive players for the Silverbacks, creating a number of scoring chances down the right wing with good crosses and taking a shot. The lack of true forwards up top likely hurt his chances of earning an assist, but he and fellow midfielder Turcios showed that the team will have good service from the midfield.

"I just tried to stay high whenever we got possession," Moroney said. "Obviously we didn't score, but we kept a clean sheet, so it's a good start to the season. ... The goals will come, especially as these forwards come in. So we're not too worried. It's a good result."

A total of 5,000 fans packed the stands Saturday, surpassing any turnout last year.

"It was a great atmosphere," Illyes said. "I like the fans."


TheRealFutboler 3 years, 6 months ago

Great recap. I agree that keeper Illyes was solid in goal, honestly my man of the match. Also, considering he only played for a few minutes, the Chilean Navia added a spark ... will be interesting to see him develop and mesh with him teammates.


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