Atlanta, Ga. (May 12, 2012) – After a strong performance in Vancouver against the Whitecaps on Wednesday night, it was Michael Cox who continued his quality play and put the Eddies up front early on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Cox pounced on a through ball from Ilja van Leerdam in the 14th minute and calmly slotted it passed Daniel Ilyes in the Silverbacks net to put the visitors up 1-0.
Atlanta's best opportunity came late in the half when Reinaldo Navia just missed the far post with a low shot.
John Smits got his first professional start and played solid through the first 45, keeping a clean sheet going into the second half. The Eddies now have three goalkeepers with shutouts this season, all Canadians.
"As a goal scorer Michael (Cox) has been important to us," said head coach Harry Sinkgraven about his big striker at the half. "He's been dangerous up there. But we have to score the second goal. The last pass isn't precise enough and we have to watch out for Navia because he's a sniper up there."
Atlanta came out of the locker room with much more purpose in the second half and were unlucky not to beat Smits in goal as the rookie ‘keeper had to get low to smother a close range effort just a few minutes after the restart.
The Silverbacks’ positive play took a major hit in the 58th minute however when Shane Moroney slid into a late tackle on Matt Lam and was shown a straight red for the dangerous play.
Sinkgraven made a tactical change at the hour mark bringing Dominic Oppong on to strengthen the midfield and Yashir Pinto came off.
Despite being down to 10-men, Atlanta continued to pressure the Eddies for much of the second half but van Leerdam finally iced it in the 87th when he cut through the defence and unleashed a powerful shot that beat Ilyes.
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