The Atlanta Silverbacks beat the San Antonio Scorpions 2-1 on Saturday night at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta in front of 3,754 fans in week seven of the NASL's fall season. Ruben Luna and Danny Barrera scored the goals for the Silverbacks while a late consolation goal was scored by Denissen of the last place Scorpions.
Atlanta won the NASL's Spring season and, in doing so, have already booked their place as host in the season-ending Soccer Bowl. That luxury has allowed Coach Brian Haynes to many of his first team squad a run out in the fall season to get NASL match experience and possibly stake a claim to a coveted starting position for the Silverbacks in the big game in November. No fewer than 18 players have started over the last five weeks.
The coach made four changes from the team that played the New York Cosmos to a tie last week. Sometimes when that many changes are made it can result in a stuttering display but not for the Silverbacks who looked in command of the game throughout.
The game started brightly with the Silverbacks defending high up the field putting immediate pressure on the Scorpions deep in their own half whenever they won possession. Bottom of the table San Antonio looked nervous and being placed under immediate pressure paid dividends as the pressure ended in a score for Ruben Luna after only 13 minutes. A Danny Barrera free kick played deep into the penalty area was not cleared effectively and Luna was there for the tap-in.
Silverbacks pressure continued through the first half but San Antonio were occasionally able to break and when they did Nasco was forced to make a couple of good saves to ensure Atlanta retained their goal advantage going in at half-time.
In the second half Danny Barrera and Ruben Luna linked up again only this time the roles were reversed Luna playing the ball perfectly for a first time shot that Barrera buried into the top left of the net to put the Silverbacks 2-0 up.
In the 65th minute Hans Denissen was played through on the top left of the penalty area. He tried a curling shot to place the ball in the top right of the goal. Nasco had it covered and was diving that way before a deflection gave the keeper no chance as the ball went in on the left leaving Nasco stranded.
The last minutes of the game were nervous for Atlanta as they tried to hold on but their defense was solid and they came out of the game with their first win in six games.
Up next for Atlanta is a road trip to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.