Soccer Gods Smile Upon Atlanta; Silverbacks Crowned NASL Spring Champions

The Silverbacks have the NASL Spring Season Championship trophy. Silverbacks Director Jose Lizardo (right) accepts the trophy from NASL COO Brian Melekian (left).

This year the Fourth of July sure had its share of fireworks. Not only in the skies, but also on the soccer pitch. From Major League Soccer, to the North American Soccer League, teams put on a show for their fans.

In the NASL, Independence Day marked the date of the final game of the Spring Championship Season, and three teams, the San Antonio Scorpions, the Carolina Railhawks, and the Atlanta Silverbacks all were in contention for the Spring Championship.

The Carolina Railhawks had the best chance of winning the tittle since a win would have made them untouchable at the top of the standings with 23 points.

For the San Antonio Scorpions, they needed to beat the Railhawks by three goals and would have also needed help from Minnesota United FC to defeat the Atlanta Silverbacks.

The Silverbacks had the most improbable of scenarios; not only did they need to defeat Minnesota United FC in Minnesota, but they also needed Carolina to lose to the Scorpions, and they needed to overcome a goal difference of four that was in Carolina’s favor.

Wouldn’t you know it, the soccer gods smiled upon Atlanta on Independence Day. The Scorpions defeated the Railhawks 2-0, and all the Silverbacks needed to do was defeat Minnesota by two or more, which they did.

What a fantastic turnaround by Eric Wynalda and the Silverbacks. From last place just one season ago, and all the entire soccer community doubting, to NASL Spring Champions.

“I am so proud of these guys and how they played,” said Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes who has turned around Atlanta’s fortunes after they finished one place of the bottom of the 2012 NASL standings.  “We did what we had to do so I am so proud of the boys who gave a great effort against a good team and we took our chances well.”

As the Spring Champions, the Silverbacks have earned the right host the 2013 Soccer Bowl at Atlanta Silverbacks Park versus the Champion of the 2013 NASL Fall Season.

The NASL will kick off the 2013 Fall Championship Season on August 3rd when the Fort Lauderdale Strikers travel to New York to renew their rivalry with the New York Cosmos.

Pedro Heizer

The founder, editor and publisher of 90 Minutes Stong, Pedro is credentialed member of U.S. Soccer, Orlando City Soccer Club, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and others, as well as a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.

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