ATLANTA -- Just call Daniel Antoniuk a gorilla killer.
The former Silverback scored his second and third goals against his former team this year, Mike Ambersley added an important late goal for the Rowdies, and Tampa Bay got past Atlanta 3-2 on Saturday.
"Every time I'm here I seem to do well," Antoniuk said. "I'm just excited that we got the win."
The Silverbacks (0-4-4, 4 points) twice found themselves down two goals but managed to bring the margin back to a single score both times. It wasn't enough to win, but their energy was better and the opportunities were there late in the game for a potential equalizer.
"Most important for us is obviously to win," said Shane Moroney, who scored both of Atlanta's goals after coming on at halftime as a substitute. "We need to get this first win just to get the ball rolling. The goals don't mean as much. Obviously we were losing so I wanted to come in and push forward, try my best."
Antoniuk's scores both came in the first half, putting Atlanta in a familiar position of being down two goals. His first strike came in the 12th minute after a pass from Shane Hill. Antoniuk pushed the ball past goalkeeper Daniel Illyes to put his team up 1-0.
The Rowdies (3-2-3, 15 points) made the score 2-0 in the 37th minute. Keith Savage found Antoniuk, and the forward again gave his team a goal.
"Everyone's gotta bring something to the table, and I can bring some of my physicality to the team," Antoniuk said. "Savage is a crafty player, smart player. He's got some height on him and can win some balls, too. Mike (Ambersley) is pretty crafty up there as well.
"It was close, but we were able to pull it off."
A long shot attempt by Central Gwinnett grad Borfor "Buff" Carr ended up helping Atlanta get on the scoreboard. Carr took a long shot that was deflected out for a corner kick. Raphael Cox sent an inswinger into the box, and Moroney put it home to bring Atlanta closer in the 62nd minute.
"It feels good (to get more involved in the offense)," Carr said. "We have to test the keepers. That was my game plan today. ... First half, I couldn't get it off the ground. Second half, I picked it up a little bit."
Ambersley's goal in the 79th minute ended up being a crucial one and the eventual game-winner. A long ball was played to Tampa Bay's offensive third, and Ambersley used some footwork and a low shot to the left of Illyes to put the Rowdies up 3-1.
Moroney scored again for Atlanta in the 88th minute on an assist from Ciaran O'Brien. But the Silverbacks couldn't close the gap before the final whistle.
"Shane had a great game," Silverbacks forward Matt Horth said. "He had both the goals and just found himself in the right places when he came on."
The Silverbacks' energy and aggressiveness were a lot better in the second half, when they outscored Tampa Bay 2-1. Horth said the key to getting the elusive victory is to play more like that and not get too down after being scored upon.
"It's a mental thing," Horth said. "Right after you concede a goal, you score a goal. The next five minutes are always the most important. That's with every team, every game, no matter whether it's U-5 or Barcelona. That's what we've got to do. We've got to switch it on that next five minutes, take it on the chin and be mentally tough about it."