EDMONTON, Alberta — Playing their fifth game in 16 days, the Silverbacks had a lot of tired legs coming into Sunday's game against FC Edmonton. But the men who took the field had enough drive to put Atlanta in the win column.
Ciaran O'Brien and Shane Moroney scored first-half goals, and the defense held off Edmonton enough for the Silverbacks to clinch a 2-1 victory, the team's first of the season. The result brought Atlanta into a three-way tie for sixth place in the NASL with Edmonton and Carolina.
O'Brien put the first goal up In the 30th minute. Forward Matt Horth was fouled by Edmonton's Kevin Hatchi after a long goal kick by goalkeeper Daniel Illyes. Three Silverbacks lined up near the ball about 25 yards out. But it was O'Brien who channeled David Beckham by bending the kick over the wall and past a stunned Lance Parker in the net for a 1-0 advantage.
Just 10 minutes later after a pair of corner kicks, O'Brien sent in a cross from the right side, and Moroney lept into the air and headed the ball into the far corner of the net. It was Moroney's third goal of the year and gave Atlanta (1-5-4, 8 points) a 2-0 lead.
Without players such as league-leading scorer Reinaldo Navia, Danilo Turcios and Central grad Borfor "Buff" Carr, the Silverbacks still outplayed the Eddies throughout the first half. Most of the possession went Atlanta's way, and the Silverbacks held a 4-2 shot advantage and 5-0 corner kick advantage.
But Edmonton (2-2-5, 8 points) didn't go away without a fight.
In the 52nd minute, reigning NASL Player of the Week Shaun Seiko took a free kick from deep on the left flank. Hatchi was manned up in the box, but he managed to stick his foot backward and redirect the ball into the net to bring Edmonton back to within a goal.
Edmonton looked to be in excellent shape in the 78th minute when Martyn Lancaster was sent off with a red card after a tackle from behind just outside his own box. A couple of minutes later, Seiko sent a long ball to Paul Craig, who headed the ball past Illyes and into the net. But the linesman called Craig offside, nullifying the would-be tying goal.
The Silverbacks were able to salvage the win despite a bunch of tired legs and a barrage of shots by Edmonton. Atlanta was outshot 10-2 in the second half and only took one corner kick to Edmonton's four.
Grayson grad Eric Ati got his first minutes of the season, coming on as a substitute for Raphael Cox in the 89th minute. Ati is normally a goalkeeper, but he was put in the field and held his own for the final minutes of the game.