EDMONTON, Alberta — Atlanta Silverbacks forward Matt Horth scored a pair of second-half goals to lead his team to a 2-0 win over FC Edmonton on a windy Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium.
Coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss to the Carolina RailHawks, Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes made several lineup changes. Goalkeeper Eric Ati, a Grayson grad, was given his professional debut in net, while defender Shane Moroney and midfielder Lucas Paulini received their first starts in nearly a month.
FC Edmonton (5-7-12), still fighting for the NASL’s final playoff spot, came out firing, with forward Serisay Barthélémy looking particularly lively early on. The first quality scoring opportunity of the game came in the 17th minute when FC Edmonton defender David Proctor saw his glancing header loop just over the crossbar.
Eight minutes later, Moroney committed a foul just outside the Silverbacks’ penalty area, giving the home side a dangerous free kick opportunity. Forward Kyle Porter ended up taking it, slamming it off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards out. The Silverbacks (5-7-12) were able to clear the ball away to safety, keeping the game scoreless.
The Silverbacks picked up their play midway through the first half, with forward Pedro Mendes finally testing FC Edmonton goalkeeper Lance Parker from 20 yards out in the 33rd minute. Mendes forced Parker into an even bigger save 10 minutes later, with the rebound barely eluding midfielder Danny Barrera in front of an open net.
Wind played a huge factor in the game, and after going against the wind in the first half, the Silverbacks took advantage of having it at their backs in the second half. The momentum almost immediately shifted their way after halftime, and after only 11 minutes, the Silverbacks would find the net.
A turnover in the midfield by FC Edmonton left midfielder Danny Barrera with the ball at his feet, and the former Cal FC player picked out a streaking Horth, who calmly finished past Parker to give his team a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute.
Five minutes later, Horth stunned FC Edmonton with a second goal, sneaking a glancing header inside the near post following a long throw-in from Moroney. Horth’s pair of goals gave him eight on the season, matching his total from his rookie season a year ago.
Following a pair of scoring chances by FC Edmonton, the Silverbacks nearly grabbed a third goal late in the game, but Parker thwarted Barrera on two separate occasions in stoppage time to keep the score at 2-0.