By MIKE GRAMAJO
After one season, Eric Wynalda is stepping down as head coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks.
The club announced on Friday that the former United States Men’s National Team star and current Fox Sports analyst will end his tenure as the Silverbacks’ manager on Saturday after their home opener against FC Edmonton at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
Jason Smith, who coached the Silverbacks from 2005-2008 during their time in the USL, will be appointed as the club’s new head coach after Saturday’s game. Wynalda will still remain as the team’s technical director. Assistant coach Ricardo Montoya was let go on Friday.
The Silverbacks, who finished eighth in the NASL Spring standings, reached the 2013 Soccer Bowl in November but were defeated by the New York Cosmos 1-0. The Silverbacks lost their season opener, 3-2, when they visited the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Field.
Here are some more news items regarding the lower divisions in American soccer:
COSMOS SIGN EL SALVADOR INTERNATIONAL ON LOAN
After an unsuccessful Spring season, the New York Cosmos decided to add some more strength to their attack, signing El Salvador international Andres Flores for the Fall season on loan from Turin-FESA Futbol Clube.
“We’re delighted to have added Andrés Flores to our squad,” Cosmos manager Giovanni Savarese said. “He’s a young player with lots of international experience and potential. His pace and skill will add another dimension to our attack and gives us more options on the forward line.”
Flores’ addition to the 2013 Soccer Bowl champions creates depth for the Cosmos’ front line. The Cosmos now have eight strikers on the roster. Flores has appeared 31 times for El Salvador’s national team, and served as team captain on June 7 during a friendly against Spain at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.
The 23-year old forward played for Argentina powerhouse River Plate from 2006-2009 before returning to El Salvador to appear 60 times for Isidro Metapan.
The Cosmos travel north of the border when they visit the Ottawa Fury on Sunday at TD Place, while also searching for their first victory of the Fall campaign.
ORLANDO CITY REMAIN UNBEATEN IN LEAGUE PLAY
Orlando City’s final season in USL PRO is off to an 18-match unbeaten start that has it 11 points ahead of second place.
OCSC kept theat unbeaten streak alive on Thursday night when they visited another MLS hopeful, Sacramento Republic. The teams battled to a scoreless draw in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,000 fans at Bonney Field.
Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath has made it no secret that he intends to finish the season unbeaten, telling reporters that he thinks his players are capable of accomplishing such a feat. The scoreless draw at Sacramento did snap Orlando’s eight-game winning streak.
The Lions travel to Rochester on July 27 only four games shy of the USL record of 22-games unbeaten. The 2013 Richmond Kickers set the record.
What do you think of Wynalda stepping down? Do you think it was too soon? Can Orlando City finish their final USL season unbeaten? Do you think the Cosmos can win the Fall season?
Share your thoughts below.