Atlanta, GA (May 15th, 2018) – The Atlanta Silverbacks Football Club kicks off its 2018 NPSL campaign Wednesday night at 7:00 PM as they visit Emerald Force SC at Sansom Sports Complex in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Emerald Force SC

Emerald Force SC kicked off their 2018 NPSL campaign Saturday night in New Orleans, where the Jesters handed them a 4-0 defeat. Thomas Peers registered two goals for New Orleans while Mason Walsh and Oliver Roberts added one a piece. Wednesday night marks the home opener for the Force, then they continue their road schedule against Chattanooga FC on Saturday night.

The Force posted a record of 7 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses in 2017 to capture the NPSL Southeast Conference East Division title. Their season came to a close after a 2-1 defeat to in-state rival, and soon-to-be Southeast Conference Champions) Inter Nashville FC in the conference semifinals. While the 2017 campaign was a successful one, Emerald Force SC failed to produced against the Silverbacks. Atlanta scored a 2-0 victory over them at home in May, then “Keka” Kamara registered two goals in the return trip to Knoxville in June as the ‘Backs took a 4-1 win.

The successful 2017 campaign was marred by questions about their ability to compete with the contenders in the conference. The Force avoided all three West Division playoff squads in the regular season, while posting a record of 1-1-2 against the other two East Division playoff teams. Can they find the formula for success to return to the conference playoffs once again?

Wednesday’s Match

After the 4-0 defeat in New Orleans, the Force have to be looking for answers to early-season questions. While the Jesters had a stellar 2017 season and look like an early conference favorite in 2018, the lack of execution defensively has to be a concern for the Knoxville squad. Atlanta’s attack proved its ability to score at Sansom last season and shows no signs of change in 2018. Returning attackers like Joao Johanning Mora and Alex Nyarko Harlley will continue to make life difficult for the Force’s defense.

Offensively, the Force failed muster a substantial attack against the Jesters. Once again, their task does not get easier as the veteran backline of Atlanta remains in tact for 2018. Abdul Bangura and Ebrima Njie return as staples of the Silverback defense and proved successful against Emerald Force SC in 2017, allowing just one goal over two matches.

The weather could play a factor Wednesday night at Sansom Sports Complex. The forecast calls for a high of 85 degrees and a low of 64 degrees, but there is a 40% to 50% of scattered thunderstorms in the area. A wet pitch or ball could equalize the matchup and provide extra opportunities for these offenses.

‘Backs fans should expect around five of the starting eleven and around eight of the traveling team to be returners from the 2017 squad. There will be plenty of new faces on the pitch as Atlanta looks to hit the ground running after a lengthy and productive preseason. Newcomers like captain Sheriff Suma and fellow midfielder Aaron Walker should augment the productivity of Keka, Harlley, and Johanning.

Knoxville, TN

We spoke with Emerald Force’s supporter group, Scruffy City Syndicate, about exploring the city of Knoxville and the best spots for traveling Silverbacks fans to visit.

The best place to grab a pre-match drink?

Just one? The best and easiest place to get a drink before the match will be the Scruffy City Syndicate tailgate across the street from the stadium. we are glad to share and hope to see you there! If you are looking for options before or after the tailgate, we recommend you check out some of our local breweries. Knoxville Brewers would be a great resource to start learning some of what Knoxville has to offer.

Best options for dinner?

There are nearly 100 restaurants in downtown Knoxville, so we are sure you will find something you like! Check here to see what works for you. As for SCS recommendations, Yassin’s Falafel House is sneaky good. We also suggest Stock & Barrel and Myrtle’s, while The Crown & Goose is a great post-match pub to visit.

Unique spot or landmark that not all traveling fans would know about?

You can head over to the World’s Fair Park and look out from the observation deck in the Sunsphere, Knoxville’s souvenir from hosting the 1982 World’s Fair. If you are feeling more adventurous, bring (or rent) a mountain bike and check out the Urban Wilderness.

A big thanks to the folks at Scruffy City Syndicate for chatting with us! Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Emerald Force news and updates, as well as live streaming of Wednesday’s match. Be sure to pay them a visit if you make the trip to Knoxville.

 

For updates and information about the match in Knoxville, be sure to follow Emerald Force SC on Facebook or Twitter.

If you cannot make the trip, stay tuned to all Silverbacks social media platforms for match updates. Live stream information will be shared as it becomes available.

Be sure to secure your tickets to Atlanta’s NPSL home opener on Saturday, May 26th at 7:00 PM against Asheville City SC. Get your individual match tickets here and your season ticket packages here!