When the Thunder Bay Chill get performances from star striker Sullivan Silva like the show on Friday, they are nearly impossible to stop.Silva scored four goals to lead the Chill to a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Brass in Premier Development League soccer action at Chapples Park. Even though Silva has been the Chill’s most consistent goal scorer this season, Friday’s offensive outburst was long awaited.
“I was looking for that since the beginning (of the season),” the Brazilian said. “Fortunately I could get four goals (Friday). My teammates helped me out, working hard and putting balls for me to score.”
After the Chill (12-2-1) had a disappointing road trip in Des Moines last weekend where they only managed one of a possible six points against the Menace, the team was pleased to have such a strong performance with the postseason just around the corner.
“You want to continue winning,” said Chill head coach Tony Colistro. “You don’t want to drop a game. I never like dropping a game going into the playoffs, and you want this kind of a performance going into the playoffs so we have to repeat it again.”
Added Silva, “That’s very good, so we can focus on our playoffs, and we’ve got to start (now). It was good playing (Friday) and showing everybody that we’re ready for the playoffs.”
Following the game the Chill received more good news in their quest to host the Central Conference playoff tournament next weekend. The Michigan Bucks (12-1-2) were defeated 2-1 by the River City Rovers, meaning that Thunder Bay will top Michigan with a win tonight against Kansas City and a Michigan tie or loss to River City on Sunday.
Playing host to the conference tournament is something that Colistro and the Chill have been striving towards all season.
“In front of our crowd, no travel for us,” Colistro said on the advantages of being hosts. “I see it even from last week (on the road), just the intensity the players have would be a big advantage for us for sure.”
First things first, the Chill would need another victory tonight, as they face the Brass in a rematch at 7:30 at Chapples Park.
The Chill opened the scoring Friday in the 23rd minute off a beautifully orchestrated play from Silva and fellow striker Juan Velez. Silva passed the ball to Velez, who gave it back to Silva with a precise back foot pass, and Silva buried the shot past Brass keeper Brendan Allen.
Thunder Bay added one more before the end of the first half, as Silva struck again in the 40th minute. Velez took the initial shot, and the rebound bounced to Silva and he made no mistake.
Colistro regards the chemistry and harmony between his strikers as the driving force between the team’s offence.
“(Silva) getting his four goals is great, but Juan contributing to the first two made it easier for Sullivan,” Colistro said. “That’s what you want from your strikers, you want them to combine and make things dangerous for the defenders.”
The Chill wasted little time finding the back of the net to open the second half as they scored in the 51st minute. Substitute Sam McCrillis scored his first goal of the season right at the goalmouth after Velez’s shot offered the rebound.
Kansas City’s Brian Robinson got on the board in the 67th minute to take away hopes of a clean sheet from Chill goalkeeper Stephen Paterson.
From there, it was all Silva. He completed the hat trick in the 71st minute, and scored his fourth in the 75th minute.
Silva now has 13 goals on the campaign, and has placed himself in the hunt for the league scoring title.
“I was trying,” he joked about going for the fifth. “I want to be the top scorer, that’s my job here, scoring goals. I’ll do my best in the future to score more goals.”
Colistro admitted after the game that it was risky to leave Silva in the game until the end, with the outcome already handily decided, but said he wanted his striker to have a chance at the title.
NOTES: The Chill won their eighth-straight overall against Kansas City. They are 8-1-2 lifetime against the Brass. . . . Thunder Bay are also unbeaten in its last 17 games, with the last loss coming on July 24, 2010 against the now defunct Rochester Thunder. The Chill have only allowed two goals at home this season.