Tonight the dream came to an end as Eric Wynalda’s Atlanta Silverbacks of the second-tier NASL brought the amateurs down to earth with a convincing 5-0 victory in Chattanooga.
Junior Burgos had a brace, Junior Sandoval, Deon McCauley, Jaime Chavez had one apiece, as the Silverbacks dominated in front of an impressive crowd of 4,058 at Finley Stadium.
Atlanta will host MLS side Real Salt Lake in the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup on June 14 at Silverbacks Park.
Technical Director Eric Wynalda said he had seen the tape of the Wilmington game from the 2nd round.
“You can watch tape all the time and think you know what you’re getting in to,” he said, “but really you don’t know until you’re there.”
Sandoval and Burgos both scored from long distance in the first half.
Sandoval scored in the 12th minute to open the scoring before Burgos scored on a free kick from just outside the box in the 17th minute.
Burgos’ second goal in the 42nd minute was a left-footed blast from all of 30 yards out to give Atlanta a commanding 3-0 heading into halftime.
The Silverbacks added another goal in the 68th minute when McCauley — who missed on his previous scoring chances — scored to make it 4-0.
Burgos added an assist to his tally on Chavez’s goal in the 71st minute.
The Silverbacks controlled possession for most of the match while out-shooting CFC, 9-1.
The differences between a talented amateur side and a Second Division pro side are slim. Perhaps a touch more speed, a tiny but distinct tendency to make fewer bad touches and hurried passes, and, usually, an edge in physical conditioning.
When asked what the main difference between amateurs and professionals at this level, Wynalda said, “Everyone can do some tricks and make a pass, but is it the right pass? It’s mostly about vision.”
FULL MATCH REPLAY