In a tightly contested game on Saturday night the Atlanta Silverbacks beat the Ottawa Fury 2-1 to record their second straight win of the North American Soccer League's Spring season. Almost 4,000 fans watched a game on a beautiful spring evening in Atlanta that presented few open chances but rewarded Atlanta for taking the ones it created.
The game started as a midfield battle as both teams had difficulty making any clear-cut opportunities. While few chances were created at either end in the first half, Atlanta Silverbacks goalkeeper Eric Ati and his Ottawa Fury counterpart Devala Gorrick, prevented either team from taking advantage with some good reaction saves.
Atlanta looked good going forward as they used crisp passes in midfield and pace on the wings to good effect and, in a ten-minute stretch on either side of halftime, used that width to convert two chances with headed goals. Deon McCaulay scoring the first in the 44th minute and Jaime Chavez adding the second in the 50th minute.
Those two goals sealed the outcome of the match. Ottawa’s offense tired quickly after the second score and any challenges to Ati’s goal were quickly snuffed out as Atlanta’s defense dominated a blunt Ottawa attack.
Atlanta also dominated the midfield battle, gaining valuable possession and a huge territorial advantage as they spent much of the remaining time in the second half pinning Ottawa deep in their own half.
In the last ten minutes the Fury found a second wind and started putting the Silverback’s midfield under more pressure with a change in offensive strategy using the long ball to good effect. The frenetic pace of the last few minutes rewarded Ottawa with a consolation goal deep in time added on as Omar Jarun, a Peachtree City native on Ottawa’s roster, scored a headed goal from a corner. It was however too little too late as the full time whistle was blown a minute later.
Although chances were few and far between Silverback Technical Director Eric Wynalda was pleased with the positive momentum that this game and last week’s away win over the Rowdies has created, “We have to keep rolling… there are a lot of positives to take from tonight. It was a very entertaining game, we can build off of this, it was a really positive result for us.”
Ottawa Manager Marc Dos Santos, believed his team did not play well, “Not many [positives] today, it wasn’t good enough from us. I felt the team was tired and a lot of things went against us this week - we can’t take positives from a game like that.”
Up next for the Silverbacks is an away game against the surprise team of the season so far, the second-place Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The Ottawa Fury return home to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies.