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Silverbacks Stall Fall Season Champions to Split Points

October 31, 2015 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Atlanta Silverbacks News Release

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Silverbacks (7-12-11, 33 points Combined Table) held the NASL Fall Season champion Ottawa Fury FC (15-11-4, 56 points) to a 1-1 draw in the club's final match of the 2015 season at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday. A perfectly placed Junior Burgos free kick inside the first five minutes set the tone early, while Ottawa's Aly Hassan scored in one of Fury FC's only sights at goal.

"I think, like much of the fall season, our play maybe didn't receive the result it deserved in the end," Silverbacks coach Gary Smith said. "Junior's goal was absolutely sublime, and we had several clear-cut chances after that. Ottawa put the ball into the back of the net on one of their few chances, and that spoiled the three points."

It didn't take long for the Silverbacks to get an opportunity against the Fall Season champs, and even less to take advantage of it. After a handball outside the 18-yard-box in the 4th minute, Burgos stepped up and knocked in his trademark free-kick to give Atlanta a goal lead.

Atlanta's offense didn't stop after gaining the lead, either. The Silverbacks continued to piece together pass after pass, while Ottawa - even with their high press up of the field - stuttered in almost every attack.

The Silverbacks almost grabbed a second goal in the 33rd minute. Pedro Mendes broke away from Ottawa's defense and sprinted through the final third. His shot was ultimately stopped from Marcel De Bellis' finger tip, diving save.

Just before half, the Silverbacks almost had another opportunity for a two goal lead. Burgos played a looping ball in over the Ottawa defense right to a running Jaime Chavez. Chavez took a step and took a shot on the far post, but it hit the post and bounced into the waiting arms of De Bellis.

Marc Dos Santos' team came out of halftime a little more prepared than they had been in the first half. Fury FC kept pressure on Atlanta's backline 20 minutes into the second half, eventually netting themselves a goal in the 65th minute. Hassan pounced on Steward Ceus' rebound and slammed the ball in the back of the net, leveling the match at 1-1.

Atlanta almost took its' lead again only five minutes later. Michael Reed's cross into 18-yard-box connected with the head of Chavez, but Chavez's glancing shot went just over the cross bar. In extra time, the Silverbacks were given one last opportunity with a free-kick just outside the 18-yard-box. Paulo Mendes ripped a curling shot through the wall, but De Bellis' spectacular dive kept the ball out of the net as.

The game may have ended 1-1, but the Silverbacks can feel confident as the best team on the pitch for their last 2015 match.

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