Atlanta escapes upset with 1-0 win
Latham strike off crossbar proves to be winner against Long Island

Atlanta Silverbacks News Release - www.atlantasilverbacks.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

ATLANTA, GA -- The second match of the Eastern Conference semifinals saw the host Atlanta Silverbacks face off against the Long Island Rough Riders in a defensive showdown in contrast to the 11-goal affair in the first semifinal as the visitors were literally eliminated by inches, 1-0, on a second half Christine Latham strike.

Rough Riders nearly shut out vaunted Atlanta offense (Ron Holt)The Silverbacks were looking to continue their undefeated season and break the momentum of the Rough Riders, who beat the Boston Renegades on Wednesday night to earn a place in the conference tournament. From the beginning, the match was a back and forth affair, but no one could get on the board. It was a sharp contrast to the first semifinal match that saw five in the back of the net before halftime.

Atlanta had a chance in the 37th minute during two successive corner kicks, but they were unable to convert either opportunity. As the half progressed, the Silverbacks continued to press down the field, but they were unable to place any of their shots past the frequently tested Long Island ‘keeper Marissa Viola.

At the end of the half, the Rough Riders made a rare foray into the Silverbacks’ end of the field, but it proved unsuccessful. The teams went to the locker rooms stuck in a 0-0 tie.

The Silverbacks got the lone goal of the night in the 51st minute off a ball that was pounded by Christine Latham. Lindsey Patterson passed the ball back to Melanie Schneider for the cross and Latham’s rocket hit the crossbar and came straight down, narrowly crossing the line.

The duo of Latham and Sarah Steinmann continued to put pressure on the Long Island goalkeeper, but they were unable to generate the offensive firepower that Silverbacks fans have grown accustomed to. The Rough Riders got a few opportunities and looked to threaten on a free kick outside the box, but the shot flew far over the post.

The Silverbacks had a promising opportunity when Latham streaked toward a ball down the right flank and crossed to Steinmann, who missed the ball to the left. Krista Bobo came sprinting through for the follow-up, but she was unable to put the ball on goal.

Long Island had another free kick outside the box off a Monica Buff foul that resulted in a yellow card, but the shot was saved by Silverbacks ‘keeper Ashley Phillips.

Both teams continued to fight hard as the Silverbacks looked to increase their lead and the Rough Riders pushed for the equalizer. Tempers flared in the 82nd minute and the Rough Rider’s coach John Fitzgerald was ejected from the game.

During the 87th minute, Sarah Steinmann appeared to have a breakaway, but she was called back by the center official, who ruled her offside. The Silverbacks continued to pepper shots at the goal, but they were unable to get on the board again. The match ended in a 1-0 victory for the Silverbacks who will be back on the field tomorrow night as they look to claim the Eastern Conference title.

The much anticipated game is a rematch of the 2007 W-League Championship match in which the Freedom defeated the Silverbacks 3-1. Silverbacks head coach Tony Anglin is looking forward to the rematch with the Freedom.

He feels that the team is “better equipped this year and we’ll be fine as long as we remain defensively strong.”

Both teams will be fighting for the chance to travel to Virginia Beach, VA for the W-League Championship tournament. Last year in the W-League Championship game, Rebecca Moros scored in the first minute of play and Christie Welsh doubled the advantage in the 40th. Atlanta’s Sarah Steinmann found Krista Davey to cut the deficit in the 67th only to see Washington secure the win on a goal from Tiffany McCarty two minutes from time in Rochester, NY.

The Eastern Conference Championship game kicks off at 8pm Saturday night and will see the host Silverbacks face the Washington Freedom at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Tickets are only $10 and will be available at the stadium beginning at 6pm. For further information, visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com or call 1-866-GOBACKS.




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