The Atlanta Silverbacks suffered their first loss of the 2012 season, falling to Minnesota Stars FC 2-0 Saturday night at NSC Stadium in Blaine, MN.
After playing their home opener at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, Saturday's game was the Stars' first of the season at the NSC Stadium. The home team started off strongly, and they created their first quality scoring opportunity in the 13th minute.
Forward Devin Del Do, who scored against the Silverbacks (0-4-1) last weekend in Atlanta, found space on the right side and fired a shot past Silverbacks goalkeeper Daniel Illyes, but defender Martyn Lancaster slid in to clear the ball off the line.
The Stars (2-3-0) made a change just 22 minutes into the game, introducing defender Ernest Tchoupe in place of defender Connor Tobin. After only two minutes on the field, Tchoupe gave the Stars a first-half lead. The Cameroonian defender received a corner kick from Neil Hlavaty, directing the ball past Illyes for a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
The momentum shifted in the Silverbacks' favor midway through the first half, and Lancaster almost brought his team level in the 36th minute. The Englishman's close-range header was punched away by Stars goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel, and a follow-up effort from Silverbacks midfielder Ciaran O'Brien sailed just inches wide of the post.
The Silverbacks' best chance of the game came in the 53rd minute when midfielder Danilo Turcios set up forward Reinaldo Navia with a breakaway opportunity, but the Chilean's shot was stopped by Van Oekel.
The game took an unfortunate turn midway through the second half when Silverbacks midfielder Tony McManus was shown his second yellow card, reducing the Silverbacks to 10 men. Shortly after, the Stars doubled their lead and sealed the three points.
Midfielder Miguel Ibarra finished off a give-and-go with midfielder Kentaro Takada, making the score 2-0, which would end up being the final result.
McManus isn't the only player the Silverbacks will be without next game as midfielder Borfor Carr was also shown a red card in the 88th minute for a tackle on Stars defender Justin Davis.
The Silverbacks return home on Saturday, May 12 to host FC Edmonton at 7:30pm at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.