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Nyonebue brace guides Atlanta into first place

The Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves claimed sole possession of first place in the NPSL Southeast Division with a 3-1 victory over the Knoxville Force on Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

Atlanta forward Tornubari Nyonebue scored two first-half goals, with the second being the eventual game-winner. After finally scoring his first goal of the season last weekend in a 2-1 victory at Rocket City United, Nyonebue’s two goals last night make him the Silverbacks Reserves’ leading scorer on the season.

Early goals have been the norm for Atlanta this season, with the Silverbacks Reserves usually conceding them. Saturday night, however, the opposite was the case. Nyonebue opened his account in the 5th minute, as he dribbled across the top of the box and found space between a multitude of defenders and slotted a low shot past Knoxville goalkeeper Conor Hurley.

The Force answered back in the 16th minute. Theo Yang received the ball at the top of the box with his back to the Atlanta goal. The Knoxville forward turned and unleashed a beautifully-placed right-footed shot that curled into the top corner and gave Silverbacks Reserves keeper Dave Martin no chance.

Atlanta would grab the lead just 12 minutes later as a Nyonebue pounced on a rebound and gave the Silverbacks Reserves a 2-1 halftime lead. Daniel Taylor shot from the right and the ball could not be controlled by Hurley. Nyonebue was there to clean up the mess for his second goal of the game and third of the season.

Atlanta continued to dominate for much of the second half as Martin was rarely called into duty. Silverbacks Reserves coach Ricardo Montoya’s introduction of Alaghi Toure led to more great chances, and Hurley’s goal fell once again in the 73rd minute as Toure scored his first of the season for Atlanta.

The win moves the Silverbacks Reserves into first place with 11 points from six games played, one point ahead of Chattanooga F.C. who have played one less game.

Chattanooga hosts Rocket City United next Saturday before Atlanta visits on June 25 in a game that will go a long way in deciding the winner of the NPSL Southeast Division.

Chattanooga defeats Atlanta to advance to U.S. Open Cup

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After a thrilling 120 minutes, Chattanooga F.C. defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves 1-0 to earn its way into the 2011 U.S. Open Cup.

Chris Ochieng finally broke the deadlock in the 116th minute. Chattanooga lofted a free kick into the Atlanta box and the ball fell softly to Ochieng, who had time to control the ball and put it past Silverbacks Reserves goalkeeper Eric Ati.

The teams had been evenly matched throughout the game, with chances coming on both ends. Most notably for Atlanta was a shot in the 20th minute by Tornubari Nyonebue. The Atlanta striker hit a right-footed shot that deflected off the back of a Chattanooga defender, stranding goalkeeper Thomas Hunter. Fortunately for the Tennessee side, the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and fell to safety.

Deni Lulic of the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves gets tangled up Chattanooga F.C.'s Ivan Heredia.

In the 33rd minute, Silverbacks Reserves forward Nick Burton drove in on the left side of the box and forced Hunter into another great save. Throughout the game Atlanta peppered the Chattanooga goal but Hunter came up big each time. He was credited with six saves for the game.

Each team found itself with a great chance to win the game at regulation. First, Atlanta’s Alejandro Duque forced Hunter into a great save on a free kick from just outside the box. On the other end, Luke Winter had a free kick from nearly the same distance but put his shot over the bar.

As the teams headed to extra time, Silverbacks Reserves Head Coach Ricardo Montoya was ejected, leaving him to watch the remainder of the game from the press box.

In the first 15-minute extra period, Atlanta continued to dominate possession but could not put anything on goal. Towards the end of the period, Atlanta defender and captain Ramiro Canovas, the only player on the Silverbacks Reserves’ roster with U.S. Open Cup experience, had to be subbed out. In his place came Fabian Irigoyen and Atlanta would miss Canovas’ height and experience dearly.

The goal by Ochieng in the 116th minute sent the home supporters into a frenzy and Chattanooga held on to claim their first berth in the U.S. Open Cup as the representative of the NPSL Southeast Division.

Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves v. Chattanooga F.C. Liveblog

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – We’re back at Finley Stadium for tonight’s game between the Silverbacks Reserves and Chattanooga F.C. A spot in the U.S. Open Cup is on the line. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., so come join us, we’ll have lineups shortly!

A few quick notes before we get the lineups: Juan Roblez got the start for Chattanooga in goal last night. In his first game of the season he collided with defender Andrew Stewart in the second half. Roblez left injured and did not return and will be unavailable for tonight’s match.

Since joining the NPSL, Chattanooga F.C. has lost only once to another NPSL team. That loss came in the team’s opening season of 2009 when they fell 3-1 at Finley Stadium to Atlanta F.C., now known as the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves.

Atlanta will be looking to qualify for their second U.S. Open Cup. Its first berth came in 2009 where they entered in the first round and lost to the Charleston Battery 2-0.

LINEUPS: Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves: GK Eric Ati, D Ramiro Canovas, D Kevin Rodriguez, D Chris Klute, D Daniel Taylor, M Kingsley Morgan, M Deni Lulic, M Juan Carlos Nandi, M Alejandro Duque, M Nick Burton, F Tornubari Nyonebue

Chattanooga FC: GK Thomas Hunter, D James Moore, D Alex Rodriguez, D Andrew Stewart, D Nick Chase, D Nick Odeny, M Mark Beattie, M Jose Roblez, M Ivan Heredia, F Mark Sherrod, F Chris Ochieng

12th minute: Corner kick for Chattanooga F.C., cleared out by Atlanta. Silverbacks Reserves with the better chances so far, including a shot by Duque from distance that Hunter saved.

13th minute: Ochieng beats three along the end line, cuts back to Sherrod whose shot goes just wide. Great chance for Chattanooga there.

20th minute: OFF THE CROSSBAR! Nyonebue steals the ball, dribble into the Chattanooga box and unleashes a right-footed shot. The ball deflects off a Chattanooga defender leaving Hunter stranded but the ball hits the crossbar and bounces out.

22nd minute: Sherrod shoots over for Chattanooga.

24h minute: First corner kick for Atlanta after some great work from Nyonebue. Duque sends the corner in, Canovas nearly gets a head on it. Ball bounces out, Nandi and Kevin Rodriguez each put crosses back in to no danger.

32nd minute: Good possession for Atlanta who strung a number of passes together. Leads to a shot from Nandi from outside the box that goes over Hunter’s goal. Still 0-0.

33rd minute: Nick Burton in on the left side, Thomas Hunter with the HUGE SAVE.

34th minute: Corner kick by Nandi, headed back to him and his left-footed shot saved at the near post.

32nd minute: Shot from Nyonebue from 30 yards out straight out, diving save from Hunter who holds.

37th minute: Sherrod shot on from just outside the box, saved by Ati.

38th minute: Corner kick Atlanta, Nandi sends it over everyone for a Chattanooga throw.

40th minute: Free kick Chattanooga. Heredia sends it in, ball bounces around a little and falls to James Moore, who whips a shot in and Eric Ati tips it over. Critical save at this point.

HALFTIME: Chattanooga F.C. 0-0 Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves. Such an intense game. No offense to Georgia Revolution, but THIS is the best rivalry in the NPSL Southeast Division. Both teams know what’s on the line.

Second half underway. 45 minutes to decide who advances to the U.S. Open Cup. If the game is tied after regulation there will be two 15-minute extra-time periods followed by a penalty kick shootout if necessary.

46th minute: Left-footed shot by Nandi saved comfortably by Hunter.

50th minute: Yellow card to Atlanta’s Kevin Rodriguez

53rd minute: Atlanta Head Coach Ricardo Montoya giving instructions to Juan Arbelaez. Comes on in 56th minute for Deni Lulic. We’re still 0-0.

64th minute: Arturo Cruz comes on for Nick Burton. Not many clear chances for either team, but this change should give Atlanta a few more options up front.

65th minute: Chattanooga corner kick, headed out by Canovas

70th minute: Arbelaez rifles a shot into outside netting. Chattanooga had seven defenders in the box just now.

71st minute: Luke Winter on for Ivan Heredia for Chattanooga.

75th minute: Shot JUST OVER from Duque. Silverbacks Reserves coming closer, building up much better than Chattanooga.

77th minute: Corner kick for Atlanta. Kingsley Morgan gets a head to it but with no real power. Shot goes harmlessly wide.

81st minute: A couple of changes for Chattanooga in the midfield have helped them string some passes together. Good tackling by the Atlanta backline have kept them from getting any shots on Ati’s goal. We continue 0-0.

85th minute: Awaiting a free kick for Atlanta from just outside the box. Controversial foul call as Duque was taken down. Dangerously close to a penalty kick. Canovas off after clashing heads with a Chattanooga defender, has not been subbed off but went back to the locker room area to receive treatment.

87th minute: FANTASTIC SAVE by Thomas Hunter off Alejandro Duque’s free kick. Canovas is back on the field with a massive bandage wrapped on his head.

88th minute: Corner kick for Chattanooga goes all the way through the box. Dangerous but Atlanta survives. Hunter’s save has woken the crowd up. Atlanta needs to at least hang on to take this to extra time.

2nd half stoppage time: 5 minutes. Corner kick for Chattanooga, taken by Drummond, volleyed on goal by Winter and saved easily by Ati. DANGEROUS FREE KICK outside the box for Chattanooga. Canovas was struggling with Drummond on a ball over the top, Drummond goes down, Canovas gets the card. We’re nearing the end of stoppage time. Free kick by Winter goes OVER THE BAR. WE’RE HEADED TO EXTRA TIME!!!

Ricardo Montoya was ejected after the 2nd half ended. He’s now in the press box with us. Extra time about to start.

2nd minute: Duque shot over, it was deflected by a Chattanooga defender. Nothing from the corner kick, a free kick from the right flank for Atlanta now.

4th minute: Duque free kick, swung into the box. Hunter gets his hands on it but it’s headed out of his hands for a goal kick.

6th minute: Left-footed shot from Nandi goes wide of goal. Yellow card to Winter of Chattanooga.

11th minute: Yellow cards to both Calderwood of Chattanooga and Juan Carlos Nandi. Tempers flaring, the game is REALLY heated at the moment. Duque shot from outside the box goes wide.

END OF 1ST EXTRA TIME PERIOD: Chattanooga with a good chance off a corner kick that was either saved by Ati or another Atlanta defender. Just before the break, Canovas came off for Fabian Irigoyen. Silverbacks Reserves will miss his experience in the back. Teams have switched sides with another 15 minutes to play.

5th minute: Winter over a free kick for Chattanooga, plays it into the box and headed away by Atlanta. Silverbacks Reserves look gassed. Andrew Green coming in for Nyonebue to play up top.

7th minute: Shot by Nandi goes wide. Free kick for Chattanooga from the right flank coming up. Nandi down to give the players a little rest.

10th minute: Off the free kick, shot from Russell Courtney for Chattanooga goes just over the bar.

11th minute: GOAL CHATTANOOGA. Free kick lofted in the box, ball falls right to the feet of Ochieng who has enough time to take a touch and put it past Ati. Unfortunate for Atlanta, but that’s the way the ball bounces.

13th minute: Free kick from Duque goes just wide of Hunter’s right post.

FINAL: 1-0 CHATTANOOGA. Chattanooga FC is headed to the U.S. Open Cup after a thrilling game.

Atlanta one win away from U.S. Open Cup

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Coming from behind once again, the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves moved within 90 minutes of returning to the U.S. Open Cup, defeating Jacksonville United F.C. 3-1.

In the first semifinal of the NPSL Southeast Division qualifying tournament, Atlanta found themselves behind once again, as has been the case in all four of their league matches. Tyler Williams opened the scoring, finding himself unmarked on the right side in the 23rd minute. Silverbacks Reserves keeper Eric Ati came out to challenge the Jacksonville striker who coolly chipped his shot into the goal.

Nick Burton of the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves tries to dribble past a multitude of Jacksonville United F.C. defenders.

The lead would not last for long, however, as Juan Carlos Nandi found the back of the net in the 28th minute. Nandi’s right-footed shot hit Jacksonville goalkeeper Stuart McCrory in the hands but he could not keep it out and the game was level.

The game would remain tied for nearly an hour until a corner kick in the 86th minute. Nandi’s corner kick found Kingsley Morgan unmarked in the box. Morgan’s powerful header beat McCrory to his right to give Atlanta its first lead.

With Jacksonville pressing to tie the game and send it to extra-time, Alejandro Duque received a pass from Tornubari Nyonebue and beat McCrory low to his left to seal the game in second-half stoppage time.

This was the second 3-1 victory for the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves over Jacksonville United F.C., with the first coming in NPSL league play on May 14 in Atlanta. In that game, the Silverbacks Reserves also fell behind early only to score three unanswered goals.

Saturday night’s victory advances Atlanta to Sunday night’s championship game where they will play either Chattanooga F.C. or Rocket City United with a spot in the U.S. Open Cup on the line.