In an exciting game of end-to-end action, the Atlanta Silverbacks drew on the road to the San Antonio Scorpions. The first half clearly belonged to the visitors and they entered halftime with a 2-1 lead. The second half saw things realy come to life and the hosts, along with some questionable decisions from the officiating crew, were able to claw their way back to a 3-3 draw. The result was enough to move Atlanta to within 3 points of a playoff spot.
#Silverbacks Starting XI and bench for tonight's match against @SAScorpions #SASvATL | 8:30 ET, @ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/X1sEt1KLdB— Silverbacks Live (@SilverbacksLive) September 26, 2015
Having suffered some slight defensive mishaps in the matches against Minnesota and Carolina, Gary Smith must have felt compelled to changes things in the back by employing a 4-5-1 for the matchup in San Antonio, straying from the 3-5-2 that had been used since the start of the Fall season. However, the personnel remained unchanged, with Kosuke Kimura moving to the backline from his usual wingback position and Paulo Mendes filling in his vacancy.
After falling victim to an early game last week, the Silverbacks wasted no time getting on the board against the Scorpions as Jamie Chavez found the back of the net in the 8th minute. He was able to connect on a ball from Kyle Porter and nod home his sixth goal of the year.
Fifteen minutes later, the Silverbacks doubled their lead after winning a free kick. Junior Burgos delivered a ball to Rawshan McKenzie, who had returned to the lineup after a one game suspension for a red card, and the defender scored his first goal.
The excitement was not over for the half yet, as the home team were able to pull one back in the 40th minute. Nana Attakora was able to turn home a shot from Stephen DeRoux past Silverback keeper Steward Ceus.
The good times continued for the Silverbacks in the second half as Chavez coolly finished for a second goal in the 58th. He was played in perfectly by Burgos and found himself one-on-one with Scorpion keeper Daniel Fernandes. With the way his night was going, there was little doubt that he would win the battle. The real excitement came during the celebration, when Chavez ran to the stand to hug a supporter, a San Antonio fan approached with a beer held high over his head. Unsure of the fan's intent, Chavez swatted to cup from his hand and a potentially unsavory episode was avoided.
Events took another twist in the 80th when Marvin Chavez had a goal from a great strike disallowed by an offsides call from the assistant. The Scorpion obviously didn't agree with the decision and charged the sideline. After breaking up the argument and discussing the play in question, the head official ruled that Chavez was infact onside and the home side was back to a one-goal deficit.
Continuing with the theme of the night, Ceus appeared to make 3 rapid fire goal line saves in the final minute. But the assistant correctly ruled that the final effort from Attakora had crossed the line before being pawed away and the host had finally drawn level. It proved to be the last firework of a truly exhilarating contest.
Atlanta was clearly upset with the result as they appeared to be the better of the two sides. Coach Smith expressed his displeasure with some of the decisions from the referees and several players could be seen having words with the officials as well.
The Atlanta Silverbacks will stay on the road next Sunday, 10/4, when they play the New York Cosmos at 5 pm. They will be paying extra close attention as they will replay the opposite fixture three days later at Silverbacks Park on Wednesday, 10/7, at 7:30 pm.