FORT LAUDERDALE – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (0W-1T-0L) make their way north to face the Atlanta Silverbacks (0W-0T-0L) on Saturday, April 13, at 7:30pm at Silverbacks Park. It is the first game of the season for the Silverbacks, who watched the NASL’s Opening Kick weekend from home while the Strikers recorded a 1-1 draw against FC Edmonton at historic Lockhart Stadium on April 6 in front of 5,201 fans. Fort Lauderdale will be looking to secure a win on Atlanta’s home field for the first time since April 23, 2011.
“Building off of last week’s game it’s important for us to go into Atlanta looking to get off to a good start,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “We like the way the game finished for us, so if we can start to get better in the attacking third then we feel like we can be a good match up for Atlanta and hopefully come away with a result.”
In the Strikers’ opening match last Saturday, it was forward David Foley who opened the 2013 scorebook on his debut to give the home team their first point in the 2013 NASL Spring Championship season. Foley scored with a long-range effort, beating FC Edmonton goalkeeper Lance Parker with a high shot into the far corner.
The turning point of the match was the return of Walter Restrepo in the second half. It was the first game action for the unanimous NASL Best XI selection since tearing his ACL last season, forcing him to miss the final seven games of 2012.
During the 2012 season, Atlanta had the most home losses in the NASL with six, compared to four home wins. However, two of those wins came against the Strikers. Fort Lauderdale will look to reverse the trend as the Silverbacks have several new players in a lineup without a lot of game time spent playing together, but possess a lot of professional experience.
Former FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna, former Charlotte Eagles standout Mark Bloom, and forward Kellen Gulley, who comes to Atlanta on loan from the Chicago Fire, add to the talented group of Silverbacks who posted the NASL’s best record over the final nine games of 2012.
Strikers midfielder Mark Anderson had the most success against the Silverbacks in 2012, scoring a goal in each of the first three matches against Atlanta. His availability for this weekend is in question after sustaining a leg injury during the preseason which forced him to miss the team’s opening game against Edmonton.
The match from Atlanta Silverbacks Park will kickoff at 7:30pm, with gates opening at 6pm to fans.
FTL went 1W-1T-2L against the Silverbacks in 2012
FTL is 1W-1T-2L at Atlanta Silverbacks Park all-time
This is the first match for ATL this season
FTL’s first open date will be the weekend of May 4
Last meeting: Sept. 15, 2012 ATL 1 – 0 FTL