SOCCER NOTES: Silverbacks have shot at first place with win

Nearly halfway through the 13-game NASL spring season, the Atlanta Silverbacks have a shot at first place in the league table this weekend. With the spring season winner awarded hosting rights against the fall season winner in the Soccer Bowl, home-field advantage for the league title is at stake.

Atlanta (3-2-1, 10 points) closed in on the first-place Carolina RailHawks (3-1-2, 11 points) last weekend with a 2-0 win at home. The Tampa Bay Rowdies sit tied for first at 3-1-2 with 11 points, but trail the first tiebreaker of goal differential with a plus-3 compared to Carolina's plus-4.

For the Silverbacks, today brings up the second game of the year against the San Antonio Scorpions. The two clubs tied May 4 in Texas 2-2.

Carolina is off, so if Minnesota United FC (2-2-2, 8 points) can pull off a win against the Rowdies, Atlanta can jump to first with a win tonight.

FC Edmonton is also with striking distance of first place at 2-2-2 with 8 points. The Eddies play Sunday against last-place Fort Lauderdale.

Today's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. The game will stream live at www.atlantasilverbacksfc.com via Ustream.

Wynalda to serve as assistant in Open Cup game

Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda will fill in for assistant coach Franklin McIntosh on the bench for Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup matchup with Real Salt Lake of MLS.

McIntosh was given a red card in last Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Georgia Revolution in Conyers, drawing a suspension for the next round.

Wynalda, a former U.S. national team member and one of of the top goal-scorers for the U.S. at the international level, served as interim head coach for Atlanta last summer before choosing Brian Haynes to succeed him.

Wynalda is also no stranger to coaching in the U.S. Open Cup. He took amateur club Cal FC past the Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro and Portland Timbers of MLS last year before falling to the Seattle Sounders in the fifth round of the tournament.

"It's going to conjure up some emotions for me and some of the players that went on that great run last year," Wynalda said in a press release. "The Cup is a competition that is very near and dear to my heart, and I'm 100 percent sure that our guys, especially the former Cal FC players, will take on this game with the utmost desire."

Numerous former Cal FC players are now on Atlanta's roster, including Danny Barrera, Pedro Mendes and Richie Menjivar.

The Silverbacks and Real Salt Lake play at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.