Hempstead, N.Y. (September 7, 2013) – In their first ever game against the New York Cosmos, the Atlanta Silverbacks earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
Former Spain international Marcos Senna converted a 44th-minute penalty kick to give his team the advantage after 45 minutes, but his tally was cancelled out by a goal from Silverbacks defender Shane Moroney early in the second half.
Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Hayes named a lineup featuring two changes from the team that posted a 1-1 draw against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on August 31. Georgia native Moroney started at right back instead of Bobby Reiss, while midfielder Brad Stisser got the nod in place of Borfor Carr.
The visiting Silverbacks started brightly, and it was Haynes’ side that created the game’s first major scoring chance in the 12th minute. On the left flank, defender Mike Randolph played a lofted ball over the top to a streaking Stisser, whose looping effort rang off the far post and away to safety.
Just three minutes later, the Cosmos had a penalty shout when midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti went down just inside the top of the area. Referee Daniel Radford wasn’t interested, however, and allowed play to continue without a whistle.
In the span of less than 60 seconds, the Cosmos saw a pair of golden opportunities go begging. In the 28th minute, a counterattack ended with Guenzatti forcing Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco into a crucial fingertip save. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball found Guenzatti again, but Nasco was there to make a diving stop to keep the game scoreless.
The Cosmos’ offensive pressure would pay off in the 44th minute when Senna converted from the penalty spot. The foul that led to the penalty came just after the Cosmos rattled the crossbar with a header, and Senna took the penalty well, depositing it in the bottom right corner past Nasco.
The Silverbacks came out of the locker room at halftime with a purpose, and it didn’t take them long to find the equalizer. Midfielder Pablo Cruz whipped in a free kick from the left wing, finding the head of Moroney, who finished well past Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish to make it 1-1 in the 49th minute.
As the second half continued, the intensity of the game heightened, with each team’s back lines squashing any possibility of many quality scoring chances. In the 74th minute, midfielder Hagop Chrishian had a chance to put his team back on top, but his left-footed volley dipped just over the crossbar.
Chirishian’s shot was the sign of things to come, as substitute forward Satoru Koshiwase forced Nasco into not one, but two point-blank reaction saves. The highlight-worthy saves were met with audible frustration from the home crowd as the Cosmos pushed for a winner.
The tension between the two teams came to a head just into stoppage time when Silverbacks forward Pedro Mendes was sent off, reducing the team to 10 men. While the Cosmos bossed the possession in the final minutes, they couldn’t find a way past Nasco, who put in a Man of the Match performance to help his team earn an impressive point away from home.
The Silverbacks will return home next Saturday to host the San Antonio Scorpions. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park and tickets can be purchased by calling 404-969-4900 or visiting atlantasilverbacksfc.com.