The Atlanta Silverbacks fell to the New Orleans Jesters 1-2 this evening at Silverbacks Park. With the win, New Orleans complete a four-game sweep of Atlanta-area NPSL clubs, defeating the Silverbacks and Georgia Revolution by a combined score of 9-2.
The match finally kicked off at 6:15pm after a delay for rain and lightning. The first half started hot with rough challenges and harsh words from both teams. New Orleans found some success early by pushing down the wings and entering crosses into the box. Silverbacks goalkeeper Thomas Hunter made a number of saves in the first half to keep it 0-0. The Jesters’ best chance came in the 31’ when forward Jonathan Evans found himself one-on-one with the Atlanta keeper. Unfortunately for Evans, his shot went well wide of the goal.
The first score of the game came in stoppage time of the first half when Atlanta captain Mitch Garcia’s shot from deep curved passed the New Orleans goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The Silverbacks went into the half leading 1-0.
New Orleans responded in the second half by scoring a goal of their own in the 53’. The ball bounced around in the Silverbacks’ box before falling to Evans who slotted it home. Atlanta’s Alex Harlley almost pulled ahead when he dribbled passed the defender in the 70’ but couldn’t squeeze the ball in at a tight angle. It was the Jesters who scored the go ahead goal in the 84’ when a low cross from New Orleans’ Jordan Rice fell to a wide-open Evans in the box. The forward easily put his shot passed the Hunter for his second goal of the evening.
The Silverbacks continued to press in the final minutes of the match, but were unable to break through the New Orleans defense. After four minutes of stoppage time the match ended a 1-2 loss for the Silverbacks.
With the win, New Orleans solidify their spot the top of the Southeast Conference with 22 points from ten games. Atlanta fall to a record of 5-4-2 (W-L-T) and currently sit in fourth place in combined Southeast Conference table.
Despite the loss, Atlanta are still in a good position to make the 2017 NPSL Playoff. The top three teams from each division in the Southeast Conference will advance and the Silverbacks currently sit in second in the East behind the Knoxville Force.
The Silverbacks play their final game of the regular season next Saturday at home in a rivalry match against the Georgia Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00pm on July 8, 2017.