Michael McDonald (At Large Board Member): “It is rivalry week. The Crocketteers, the Scorpions, and even the casual fan need to bring their “A” game so we can take this one!!”
It is indeed rivalry week as the Minnesota United FC travel to San Antonio to play their first game in Toyota Field. Welcome to this special edition of our Gameday Preparation article where we, as fans, prepare our “A” game for tomorrow’s match. This is a special occasion for Scorpions’ fans as it will be the first opportunity for most of us to heckle, I mean greet, three former players. Coming up, we’ll also talk about the Scorpions performance last week, what we can look forward to for Saturday’s game, and how the team has fared against MNUFC in the past. Also keep a look out for additional comments from the Crocketteers board members and even from the Coach and President themselves. And to wrap it all up, I’ll make another lousy prediction for tomorrow’s final scoreline.
Jakob Willmann (At Large Board Member): “I hope to see a much more dynamic starting XI. We have seen what doesn’t work, now let’s see what does.”
Not much has worked for the Scorpions this season as another loss last week versus Atlanta was enough to drop San Antonio to the bottom of the NASL standings for the second time this season. It seems that the Scorpions can either “defend well” or push forward and score the ball. In eight games this season (including US Open Cup), San Antonio has had five games of determined defending and four games of admirable attacking. The only overlap where both defense and attack were present on the field is the single win we have this season. The defense was on show last Saturday as the Scorpions traveled to Atlanta looking to pull within one victory of the league leaders. Vucko, Wagner, and the others produced a fine effort for 85 minutes but Atlanta was able to score to secure the win. With no support in the attacking half of the field, the defense faltered and one goal was all that was needed for the Silverbacks.
James Hope (President): “The Alamo Traitors return to San Antonio this Saturday and we will be ready for them. These guys are dead to us. Victory or Death”
Three starters from last year’s Scorpions roster return in the black and blue of Minnesota United FC. Pablo Campos, Daryl Sattler, and Aaron Pitchkolan were all picked up by Minnesota in the off season after the Scorpions front office failed to find contract compromises. Campos and Pitchkolan have both scored one goal for Mini U this season and have been instrumental in setting up the other goals totaling 10 assists for Minnesota’s 13 goals. Daryl Sattler has bee solid with 15 saves and a 1.50 goal against average. Minnesota scored three goals in their win last week that has them now tied for second place with 11 points from seven games played this season. Neither Sattler nor Pitchkolan played in Minnesota’s loss in US Open Cup action on May 21 or their win last week and we’re unsure if they will indeed choose to even make the trip to face our fans this week.
Coach Tim Hankinson says, “I think Minnesota has become our greatest rival and our most even match. Every game we play against them seems to be a one-goal difference or an even draw.” There have been seven meetings between our two teams with five draws and each team earning one win. Minnesota will claim to have the edge in the series with their sole victory coming in the playoffs last year that knocked the Scorpions out of the hunt for a second trophy. Of course, Campos was shown a red card in the 27th minute in that match…for headbutting a now current teammate. This will be only the second time Hannigan has been in goal against Minnesota but his first showing produced the first NASL Play of the Week of 2013. “Our focus is on winning matches” says Coach Hankinson but he is still looking for solutions in each training session. He’ll have another difficult decision to make on defense tomorrow as Janicki and Martin are once again sidelined with injuries. He might find some of those winning solutions waiting to prove themselves on the bench.
Jakob Willmann (At Large Board Member): “Since this season is basically over for us, I hope to see some players we haven’t seen yet. The team could use the heart, and the players could use the experience.”
Rich Moore (Vice President): “The Scorpions’ spring season hope for a 1st Place finish is gone. The team has the skills to be competitive in NASL but they need to focus on the basics. Some of the regulars are trying to be too fancy with their game and its not working. Coach Hankinson should play the bench to give those guys some minutes and to send a message to a few of the starters.”
Current President and GM of the San Antonio Scorpions Howard Cornfield (former president of the Quad City Mallards [hockey] and Gary Southshore Railcats [baseball]) believes the “environment continues to get better and better” despite the losses. He still hopes “that [the former Scorpions players] will leave Toyota Field Saturday night without any points.” We agree.
The Scorpions will have to do what they’ve only done once this season (against Minnesota coincidentally) and need to keep a clean sheet in order to prevent Minnesota United FC from earning any points. It will be difficult as Minnesota has a good chance to take over first place in the standings with four games left in the Spring season. Which Scorpions team will show up for tomorrow’s game – the determined defense, the admirable attack, or (for the second time) both? Also, who among all you fans will prove that you will, or always do, bring your “A” game to support your home team? Your support may make the difference. Scorpions 0 – 2 Minnesota United FC.