Preview of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
Saturday, September 15, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m. – Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA
What’s at Stake:
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (9W-8T-9L) travel to Atlanta to face the Silverbacks (5W-8T-12L) for the Strikers’ second-to-last match of the regular season. The Strikers clinched a playoff spot with a 1-1 tie against Puerto Rico on Saturday. However, whether the Strikers will have an opening-round home match depends on the season’s final two games; Fort Lauderdale, currently fifth in the NASL standings, will need to finish in either third or fourth place to host a playoff match at Lockhart Stadium.
Both the Strikers and Silverbacks are playing tough soccer heading into their final two and three matches, respectively, of the 2012 regular season. The Strikers have just one loss in their last five matches and the Silverbacks just one loss in their last six matches.
Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta have faced each other three times this season, the last two matches won by the home team and the first, at Lockhart Stadium on May 26, resulting in a 1-1 draw. Saturday’s match should see plenty of scoring, as the teams have combined for a total of 14 goals over their last two meetings.
The results when these teams have met over last past two seasons have been remarkably even, each team having won twice, lost twice and tied three times. Atlanta is 1W-1T-3L all-time against the Strikers at Silverbacks Park.
The Strikers’ defense is playing well heading into late September, having allowed just five goals in the team’s last five matches, three of which came against Tampa Bay on September 1. After surrendering a second-minute goal to Puerto Rico on Saturday, the Strikers held the Islanders scoreless for the remaining 88 minutes of the match.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Matt Horth comes into Saturday’s match having scored three times in his last two matches. Horth won the NASL’s Offensive Player of the Week award on September 4 and has nine goals on the season, tied for fourth most in the league.
Atlanta made league-wide news this week as the Silverbacks announced that the team’s name, for future seasons, will depend on the vote of its fans. Voters can choose to keep the team’s current name, change to the team’s original NASL incarnation, the Chiefs, or write-in a name of their choosing.
Next up, the Strikers will travel to Canada to play their final regular season game against FC Edmonton on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 4:05pm EDT. Tickets for Strikers games are available by calling (954) 606-0400 or by going to Strikers.com. Follow the Strikers on Facebook and twitter @FTLStrikers. All Strikers NASL games are broadcast online at Strikers.com/live
by Ben Markus