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Philadelphia Atoms


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Records fall as Kardos leads Philly with 2 goals

September 23, 2017

Glenside, PA – The Philadelphia Atoms hosted Keystone state rivals, AFC Lancaster on an historic evening at Lenox Field this past Saturday.

Both teams came into the match looking for their first victory of the Fall Season. But by games' end, the Atoms found themselves taming the Lions in record fashion. From the get-go, Philadelphia looked like the fresher side after they had a bye week in the ASL’s round three weekend. Lancaster, who led the Atoms by a point in the American Soccer League table, was coming off a tough home loss handed to them by the Long Island Express last Saturday.

Philly jumped ahead early in this third edition of the Keystone Derby when Uche Onyeador slotted a centering header from Tim DiBisceglie in the 5th minute of play. It was Uche’s first goal of the fall and Tim’s first professional assist of his career.

The Atoms did not take long to double their lead when Alex Kardos picked up a loose ball in the box to score his first goal for the Atoms.

Although Lancaster was fighting for every ball and attacking on the counter, Philadelphia registered their third goal in the 18th minute when Yusef Hamza stole a ball from a Lions midfielder and slotted it to a streaking Eric Johnson on the right flank. Johnson, who looked to be at an impossible shooting angle, fired a low laser to the far bar to give the Atoms a breathable 3:0 lead.

But the half, and Hamza were not over, when in stoppage time, Yusef found a misplaced clearance from the Lancaster keeper in the box, and tapped in his first goal of the Fall season. For Hamza, it was his first Philly goal since he last played for the boys in blue on May 6th in Boston.

The second half found the Lions roaring out of the gate as the tempo increased exponentially. Lancaster pulled back a goal when their scoring-machine, Eugene Dennis sent a screeching a clearance past Ike Onyeador in the 50th minute. Ike had just come on to replace Joe Lubonski who held a clean sheet throughout the first 45. For Dennis, it was his 4th goal in his last four games, but he would not get a 5th on the night. The score was now 4:1 with 40 minutes remaining, and Ike would not be scored upon for the rest of the match.

With Dennis’ goal and new life, the visitors came at the Atoms hard. The intensity increased, as did the issuance of yellow cards, but Philadelphia was undeterred. In the 57th minute, the Atoms Family Supporters’ Man of the Match, Alex Kardos used his speed and footwork to take a ball from the middle third, down the right wing, through the defence deep into the box and past the Lions net-minder for his 2nd of the match to put the lead back at 5:1.

The current score line matched an all-time Philadelphia Atoms record which was set back on August 10, 1973 when the Atoms defeated the St Louis Stars in front of 18,357 fans at Philly’s iconic Veterans Stadium. But these 2017 Atoms, although playing to a crowd less than 1/20th of that size, were not content with tying a record.

It was in the 63rd minute of the match when Atoms centerback, Tim DiBisceglie redirected a perfect corner kick from Nick Morris. The cross came into the box from the right. The keeper guessed far left post, but DiBisceglie opened up his professional account by confidently heading Morris’ cross to the near post for his first and the team’s sixth goal of the game. It was to be the final goal on the record breaking night as the scoreboard read Atoms 6 – Lions 1.

The Atoms win gives Philadelphia the lead in the Keystone Derby over their Commonwealth neighbors from Lancaster with two wins and an tie in all-time Atoms/Lions history.

Fans in attendance on Saturday were probably unaware that they were witness to the setting of an all-time record for most goals scored in an Atoms match since they hung five on the Washington Diplomats back on May 4th 1974 in the old NASL. A record was also set for the largest margin of victory (5 goals) by any Atoms’ team in 44 years.

Other milestones that were set… most goals scored (6) in an ASL match this fall… most players to score (5- Onyeador, Kardos, Johnson, Hamza & DiBisceglie) in a single regular-time match in Philadelphia soccer history (ASL, NASL & MLS)… most first-time professional goals scored in a Atoms players’ career (3- Kardos, Johnson & DiBisceglie)… and first brace in the fall 2017 season for an Atoms player (Kardos).

The historic win raises the Atoms in a tie for 4th place (and a potential playoff spot) with Mass United FC, who was technically on an American Soccer League bye this weekend. The “Riders” from Boston were not idle however as they were busy defeating Southie FC on PKs in the 1st round of qualifications for the 2018 US Open Cup on Saturday. While happy for Mass United’s success in representing the ASL in the 104 year-old soccer tournament, the Philadelphia Atoms look to break that 4th place tie with a victory when they welcome the Riders to Lenox Field in Glenside next Saturday, September 30th at 7pm.

Supporter's Man of the Match: Alex Kardos

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