Frequent readers of this blog know we like to talk our sister SB Nation blogs before matches. For the US Open Cup though, we don't have anyone to talk to since we don't have an Atlanta Silverbacks blog. Therefore, to bring you comprehensive coverage, we had to go outside our ranks to the Atlanta based (and friend of SB Nation) 21 Peach Street, who covers the Silverbacks and MLS Atlanta. We talked to Jason Longshore and Mat Grisham about the upcoming cup match. Here's what they had to say.
OaM: The Silverbacks needed a shootout to survive to the Third Round of the US Open Cup. Last year they made the quarterfinals. Do fans believe they can make a similar run again?
PS: All the fans would love to make a similar run this year and host another MLS side at Silverbacks Park, whether or not they believe in another run is a different question. It has been a frustrating season so far as the defense has shown to be very solid but the offense has been disappointing in front of goal. If the 'Backs can get out to an early lead (and they've shown a flair for fast starts), then they might have a chance. If not, it could be another long night.
OaM: The New York Red Bulls are a team that likes to pressure the opposing back line and force turnovers early in possession. What can the Silverbacks do to counter it?
PS: Hopefully, the defense will continue the success they've found this season and be able to withstand the pressure for a full 90. The Silverbacks will have speed advantages with pacey forward/winger Shaka Bangura and wingers Jon Okafor and Kyle Porter. Jaime Chavez and/or Matt Horth can provide a target forward as an outlet. Quick counterattacks have been the best source of offense for the Silverbacks in 2015, and have caused the Red Bulls problems as well.
OaM: What weaknesses are there for the Silverbacks that the Red Bulls can exploit?
PS: If midfielder Hans Denissen is not fit enough to start, the midfield can be very thin in terms of possession. When Hans is in the game, he gives the team more time to switch from defense to offense and the attack is generally more threatening. Opponents have also found a lot of success attacking on the left wing as the right side of the Silverbacks defense doesn't always have the speed required to keep up with wingers looking to get in behind. Long balls to that side generally leave Atlanta fans short of breath.
You can read our answers to their questions on their site, and you can follow them on Twitter at @21peachstreet.