Somehow, someway, the Atlanta Silverbacks still have a chance to play this November. Their slim playoff hopes were given life with last weekend's results and Atlanta has to take advantage of their good fortune. Tonight, they face the team that currently sits in the final playoff spot, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. With three games left in the 2015 season (and two of those at home), the Silverbacks need to win out and hope for help in order to play after Halloween.
Lost 3-0 vs. New York Cosmos
Drew 1-1 at New York Cosmos (goal by Mravec)
Drew 3-3 vs. San Antonio Scorpions (goals by Chavez , McKenzie)
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Drew 1-1 vs. Ottawa Fury (goal by Shriver)
Lost 1-0 at Minnesota United
Drew 1-1 vs. Indy Eleven (goal by Long Tan)
Ceus; Black, Mensing, McKenzie; Reed, Mendes, Porter, Burgos, Kimura; Chavez, Mendes
After toying with a 4-5-1 in recent weeks, Atlanta went back to their 3-5-2 for the last match with the Cosmos. That will likely be the option tonight against the Rowdies as controlling the midfield will be important.
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Pickens; Chavez, Antonijevic, Mkandawire, Balchan; Adu, Saragosa, Menjivar, Shriver; Hristov, Tan
The Rowdies will be without starters Juan Guerra and Darnell King tonight, which could unsettle them a bit. Former Silverback Richie Menjivar will likely see time at his old stomping grounds tonight.
1- The reemergence of Freddy Adu
Adu was vital to rescuing a point for the Rowdies last week with a nifty chipped assist on Brian Shriver's game tying goal. He's recovered from nagging injuries to start Tampa's last three games and his influence on the team going forward is growing. If he stays out wide, Silverbacks' wing backs Kyle Porter and Kosuke Kimura will need to keep tabs on him. When he pinches inside to play as a #10, it will be on Michael Reed and Paulo Mendes to prevent him from creating opportunities for the Rowdies.
2- Increased intensity
Atlanta's last game saw a flat performance result in a home loss to the New York Cosmos. With the season on the line and no time to waste, intensity from the opening whistle is a must to see Atlanta walk away with a win tonight.
3- Play through Burgos
Junior Burgos' play has been the key ingredient in Atlanta's much improved second half to the season. With him playing much more as a #10 in recent weeks than a wide midfielder, his importance has shown through. We've known about his long range shooting and free kicks, but he has wowed Atlanta fans with him playmaking abilities in recent months. As often as possible, Atlanta needs to find him in dangerous opportunities.
How to Watch
Who: Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Where: Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA
When: Saturday, October 17, 7:30 p.m. ET