By MIKE GRAMAJO
If we learned anything in NASL this past weekend, it’s that you can never count the Atlanta Silverbacks out.
The Silverbacks were down 3-1 in the first half after Luke Mulholland scored in the 24th and 44th minute for the Rowdies, but a second-half surge lead Atlanta to one of the biggest NASL comebacks in recent memory as Pedro Mendes scored a pair of goals to help lead a 4-3 comeback victory.
Within a span of 17 minutes, the Silverbacks rocked Al Lang Stadium, scoring three unanwesered goals courtesy of Ruben Luna and Pedro Mendes, who earned NASL Player of the Week honors for his heroics.
“I saw the warning signs in the first half and we didn’t deserve to be 3-1 up,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “The disappointing thing was they scored goals from outside the box and we backed off and let them have shots. When you’re 3-1 up you should take something from the game and we haven’t done that through our own inability as a team.”
The win insured Atlanta second in the table, one point behind the Carolina RailHawks.
Here is a rundown of the rest of the weekend’s NASL action:
RAILHAWKS ROLL PAST STRIKERS
The Carolina RailHawks reached first place in the NASL standings this weekend after a 3-1 home win against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Jemal Johnson opened up the scoring for the South Florida club, scoring from outside the 18-yard-line after his shot went low towards the right-hand post.
However, things would soon change moments later, after Floyd Franks would bury a penalty kick for the RailHawks in the 26th minute which tied the match until the Carolina side were awarded another Penalty, which saw Brian Shriver bury the ball in the back of the net.
“It’s what we know we’re capable of and some of the play in the second half was pretty special,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “We could have scored a couple more goals, but we will take 3-1.”
Brian Shriver completed his brace when a defensive error from the Strikers lead to Shriver capitalizing on the dead ball right outside the goal line.
MINNESOTA UNITED RECORD FIRST WIN, DOWNING EDMONTON
After returning from a bye-week, Minnesota United FC earned its first winning, beating FC Edmonton 2-0, Saturday evening at the MetroDome.
After a tightly contested first half, which saw both teams shooting multiple shots, Minnesota was able to get the upper-hand when a disputed penalty was called in the 30th minute. Simone Bracalello opened up the scoring for Minnesota after burying the spot kick.
“It was an important win for us,” said United coach Manny Lagos. “I really was proud of the guys, finding different ways to create chances and win the game. Our back four were outstanding today and didn’t let up.”
Lucas Rodriquez would double the lead, after a left footed volley in the box insured Minnesota the victory over a winless Edmonton side.
When you see the development of that play and a clever finish by Rodriguez, that was a fun goal to watch,” added Lagos. “It was a very important goal too because we were up against a team that was handling us and we came through.”
Minnesota will hope to build off the win as they visit a steaming Atlanta side on Saturday, kickoff set 7:30 p.m.