By MIKE GRAMAJO
The Atlanta Silverbacks will look to go 2-0 against the NASL’s two Florida teams when they go into St. Petersburg to face-off against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Silverbacks opened up their season last week at home, defeating the Strikers from Ft. Lauderdale 2-0, but it’s the Rowdies who look to spoil another chance after topping San Antonio last week 2-0 in their brand new soccer-specific-stadium.
Tampa’s Raphael Cox, who earned player of the week for week 2, looks to guide a Rowdies side that is looking to start their season 2-0-1 and earn there first three points at home after drawing 0-0 against the Carolina RailHawks in their season opener.
“We are looking forward to returning home at the Al Lang Stadium attempting to register our first home victory of the season,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill on registering a first win at home. “Our previous encounters with Atlanta have always proven to be extremely close, and we expect a really tough game again on Saturday.”
Here is a look at what else is happening this weekend in the NASL:
RAILHAWKS LOOK TO KNOCK OFF STRIKERS
Tampa isn’t the only team looking to extend an unbeaten start to the spring season of the NASL, the Carolina RailHawks are entering this weekend off a fresh home victory last week, downing FC Edmonton 2-0 at the newly renovated WakeMed Soccer Park.
Carolina’s Austin De Luz and Brian Shriver were named to Week 2 team of the week after scoring two second-half goals for a first victory of the season.
Ft. Lauderdale, however, look to avoid a continuance of falling on the road, winning only one match in their last 16 road matches.
“Our challenge going into Carolina is going to be dealing with a good team. They are fast, they are very well coached and they have a big field,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “The key for us is going to be staying organized defensively and making sure that we take care of the ball so we can do a better job when we have possession.”
MINNESOTA AND EDMONTON SEEKING FIRST WINS
While Minnesota United FC look to gain momentum after having a week-2 bye, FC Edmonton, who have lost and tied both of their opening matches, look to break that curse and register a first win in the campaign for NASL glory.
The Eddies, who have Daryl Fordyce as their main catalyst and player of the week, fell to the RailHawks 2-1 last week. And despite allowing two second-half goals last week, Edmonton’s late push for an equalizer showed team effort for a team that’s already gone three consecutive games on the road.
“We played well enough to get three points from both of our first games on the road I feel and were unlucky to come away with only one,” said head coach Colin Miller. “The game against Minnesota is critical this weekend. We’ll need a result to not only keep pace but to give us some momentum coming back to Edmonton for our home opener.”