Two weeks ago, the San Antonio Scorpions were able to earn their second win of the season against rival Minnesota United FC. The Scorpions have since had a bye week that has returned one player from injury. Unfortunately, we find that several others have picked up an injury that prevented them from travelling for tonight’s game. On a lighter note, two new strikers have been signed that the coaches hope “will add a spark to our lineup.” There were no new strikers needed in their second win at Toyota Field when San Antonio netted two – one in the first minute and one in the 90th minute – and kept only their second clean sheet of the season.
The Scorpions traveled to Florida yesterday to prepare for tonight’s game versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Rowdies spoiled the home opener at Toyota Field back on April 13th beating San Antonio in the only other meeting of the 2013 season so far by two goals. That was also the last full game that Greg Janicki played this season as he was injured only ten minutes into the following game. He is healed up from his injury and Coach Hankinson is looking for him to make a difference in a back line that has had at least eight different starting players this season. Tampa Bay has a lot to prove in tonight’s game. They lost in US Open Cup action just three days ago in a late game against the Portland Timbers. Rowdies’ players will have to pull from energy reserves after only two days to prepare for the Scorpions and one of those days being a travel day. The Scorpions should be well-rested for tonight’s game having come off their bye week.
There are four players unable to play tonight. Lyle Martin is still out due to a hamstring injury that has plagued him for the better part of a month. Bryan Jordan has re-injured his hamstring and the usually reliable Walter Ramirez is unable to play after injuring his groin. It was Ramirez that secured the second goal at the end of regular time two weeks ago and Jordan that caused a lot of problems for the oppositions midfield and defense. On the bright side, the four Scorpions’ players that received NASL Team of the Week honors after their last match should look to start in Tampa. Vuolo, Jennings, Wagner, and Phelan each earned the honor. Wagner also earned Player of the Week and Vuolo earned Play of the Week. Each will be looking to build off those performances tonight.
Two late additions to the team could provide assistance up front. San Antonio recently signed Fabrice Noel of Haiti and Eriq Zavaleta from the Seattle Sounders. Noel was still trying to receive his international clearance and is unlikely to have made the trip to Florida. Zavaleta, on the other hand, is available. That’s a good thing too as the Scorpions only signed him on loan for two weeks. Zavaleta has made appearances at both the MLS level with Seattle and international level on the US team during the U-17 World Cup. “Eriq led the country in scoring last year at Indiana University, so we are excited to see if he can replicate that goal-scoring form with us.” – Coach Hankinson
Our board members had this to say:
Rich Moore (Vice-President): “The current NASL standings combined with the remaining schedule make it difficult for the Scorpions to end the Spring season at the top of the table. They looked like a much-improved side against Minnesota United. However, I continue to hope to see more of the bench players get some minutes. The team needs to build some depth for the Fall season.”
James Hope (President): “For me the Rowdies are the team I love to hate. Their supporters group is Ralph’s Mob and I love getting under their skin. A win on Saturday will give us an outside chance of still winning the Spring season. Forever optimistic.”
There is a lot in the Scorpions favor this week. Janicki has returned from his injury; Tampa Bay played three night’s ago and traveled two days ago; the Scorpions have had two weeks to rest up and prepare for tonight’s away game; and San Antonio should look to add at least one new threat at that striker position. The Scorpions have been moving up in the second half of the Spring season while Tampa has been on the decline. Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 – 3 Scorpions.