CONYERS, Ga. – In the first-ever meeting between two Atlanta-area teams, the Atlanta Silverbacks defeated the Georgia Revolution 1-0 in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Georgia came out on the back heel and withstood the early pressure from the Silverbacks. In the 3rd minute, Reinaldo Navia put a glancing header just wide of Zach Schultze’s far post. Despite controlling most of the possession early on, Atlanta could not put any shots on net until the 21st minute, when Nico Colaluca forced an easy save out of Schultze.
The Revolution slowly but surely made their way forward, and came close in the 25th minute, when Clarke Bentley’s free kick found Michael Nwiloh unmarked in the box, but the defender could only put his header over goal.
Immediately following this chance, the game was stopped due to lightning in the area. As both teams remained on the field, the referees conferred with the coaches and decided to continue the game without further delay.
Late in the first half, Bentley was fouled by Jordan Davis in the area to give Georgia a penalty kick. Kwado Poku stepped up, but Joe Nasco was up to the task for Atlanta, diving to his left to collect the shot and keep the game scoreless going into the half.
As the second half began, the Revolution dominated possession but the Atlanta defense stood strong.
With the game ripe for the taking by either side, it was one moment of brilliance from Raphael Cox that decided the game. Capitalizing on a poor clearance, Cox dribbled down the left side of the field and into the box, unleashing a shot to the far side of the net that Schultze could not stop.
It was the best chance for either team in the second half, as numerous fouls and cards killed any decent flow to the match. Georgia had one final chance in stoppage time, but Sean Grisham’s corner kick sailed just over Schultze’s head into Nasco’s hands as the final whistle blew.
Atlanta moves on to the Third Round of the Open Cup, where they will take on three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders. Originally, Atlanta had won the right to host the Sounders in Atlanta, but a financial agreement was made between the two clubs which resulted in the Silverbacks giving Seattle the right to host. Now Atlanta will head to Tukwila, Wash. on Wednesday, May 30, to play their Open Cup game at Starfire Sports Complex.
The win was the first of the season in any competition for the Silverbacks, who started their NASL campaign with four draws and four losses. Georgia suffered their first loss in any competition, following two wins in NPSL play and one win over the Mississippi Brilla in the 1st round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Scoring: ATL- Raphael Cox (unassisted) 61′
ATL- Nico Colaluca 24′ (caution)
ATL- Raphael Cox 47′ (caution)
ATL- Reinaldo Navia 85′ (caution)
GEO- Jamal Keene 86′ (caution)