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Surprise! Silverbacks draw United in all-Atlanta scrimmage

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The Backs and Five Stripes meet for the first time

Silverbacks’ midfielder Kentaro "Taka" Takada dribbles away from an Atlanta United player
Dave Williamson Photography

The Atlanta Silverbacks drew Atlanta United 0-0 on Wednesday afternoon at United’s new world-class training center in Marietta, GA.

Both clubs came to the scrimmage with a win over the weekend, but against very different competition. Atlanta United beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 in Utah to give them 11 points from seven games. They sit in fourth place in the MLS Eastern Conference Standings. The Silverbacks easily defeated non-league Savannah Clovers FC 7-2 at home on Saturday in a preseason match.

The two clubs kicked off on a beautiful afternoon in Marietta. Atlanta United, using a combination of their senior roster and academy, dominated possession for the first fifteen minutes before the Silverbacks began to settle in. The first half ended with a beautiful chance for the Silverbacks. Left midfielder Mitch Garcia perfectly timed a volleyed shot towards the United goalkeeper. The keeper made the save, but the rebound fell to forward Deon McCaulay who put it into the back of the net. The Silverbacks’ celebration was cut short by the assistant referee who flagged McCauley offside. The clubs went into half-time 0-0.

The second half began with greater pressure from the United offense. McCaulay managed another chance in the 55’ when he attempted to chip the United goalkeeper, but the ball went wide of the goal. The majority of the opportunities belonged to Atlanta United who utilized space on the wings to enter dangerous balls into the box. Despite the pressure, the Silverbacks’ defense was up to the task, seeing the game out with a clean sheet. The full-time whistle blew with the score 0-0.

“The game was good competition,” said McCaulay after the match. “We didn’t expect the game to be as fast [as it was], but we adapted well.” When asked about the disallowed goal, McCaulay smiled. “That goal was definitely onsides. I checked with the video guy at halftime,” he said.

Today’s scrimmage was an opportunity for the Silverbacks to gage their readiness against higher-level clubs. After dropping down to lower-division NPSL last season, the Backs are looking to reclaim some of their former glory as they make a run in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup this season. The first match of the tournament is against the SC United Bantams (PDL) on May 10.

Before the Open Cup, the Atlanta Silverbacks will kick of the 2017 NPSL Season against the Birmingham Hammers on May 6 at Silverbacks Park. Tickets and more information are available at AtlantaSilverbacksFC.com.