Last Saturday, the San Antonio Scorpions accomplished their first win ever after conceding the first goal of the game. In 39 total games played (dating back to the 2012 inaugural season), the Scorpions have allowed their opponent to score first in 16 matches with an overall record of 1-10-5. Saturday’s win against Fort Lauderdale provided that first win, moved our current win streak to four games, and most important, kept the Scorpions’ chances alive for finishing first in the Spring season. It was NASL Player of the Week Hans Denissen that featured in the Scorpions first two goals of the game (both nominees for Play of the Week). Denissen assisted on the first goal with a cross from the baseline after a failed clearance by Fort Lauderdale. He then slotted his sixth goal of the season with a volley from less than six yards out. Denissen leads the team with his six goals and is only two goals behind the league leader.
The entire Spring season will be decided with today’s game versus the Carolina Railhawks. In their last game, Carolina earned a significant point at home against Atlanta scoring in the final minutes to stay atop the league standings. As time wound down in the match, Atlanta thought they had perhaps earned the full three points with a set piece in the 63rd minute but Carolina had a late set piece of their own. A corner kick in the 89th minute supplied that tying goal when an Atlanta defender fell over and Austin da Luz lined up his free header straight into the back of the net.
That result set up this three team battle for first in the league. Carolina, Atlanta, and the Scorpions each have an opportunity to finish first and the NASL did a good job describing each of the possible scenarios. The Scorpions, unfortunately, don’t have full control in their quest for the top spot but a win over Carolina by at least 3 goals (to make up goal differential) and a loss or draw by Atlanta in Minnesota will be just enough to win the Spring season and host the Soccer Bowl in November. The match between Atlanta and Minnesota starts 30 minutes earlier so the fans will once again know if that result is in the Scorpions’ favor.
“Thursday’s game can obviously decide a cup. We can’t control what Atlanta does, but we can certainly control our own park and what we have to do. Scoring three goals in any match is always a mountain to climb, but I feel that the team is ready.” – Tim Hankinson
Six players from the NASL Team of the Week will face off in today’s game. San Antonio once again had four players placed onto the team after their offensive onslaught in their last game. Carolina had two players on the team as well with da Luz earning a spot with his last minute goal and Railhawks’ goalkeeper Fitzgerald earning a spot with five saves against Atlanta. The Scorpions will have to overcome them and the rest of the team if hopes are to turn into celebration.
Our board members had this to say:
Rich Moore (Vice President): “As a fairly outspoken critic of the Scorpions during the first 6 weeks of this season, I am happy to have been wrong about the outcome. Coach Hankinson has revived the team and the players have responded. To win by a 3 goal margin against one of the best defenses in the league will be a daunting task. It is possible but it leaves no room for errors.”
James Hope (President): “I am so excited that we still have a chance to win the Spring season. I personally want revenge against Carolina for our 5-2 defeat over there. We need to win by three goals and I look forward to seeing Carolina getting [defeated] this Thursday.”
Five points to consider leading into this final game of the 2013 Spring season:
- Scorpions sat in last place with 5 points after seven games.
- They won 4 straight earning the maximum twelve points to bring them to their current total.
- The Scorpions are now in 3rd place behind Carolina and Atlanta.
- 2 things must happen in the final game – Scorpions must win by at least three goals and Atlanta lose or draw.
- Finally if all things go correctly, Scorpions finish in 1st place and host the Soccer Bowl Championship game in November.
It has been an uphill battle for the Scorpions and we shall see if the team is up for the task or if the hole they dug themselves into was too much to overcome. There will be fireworks after the game at Toyota Field. Let’s hope they are not only in celebration of our Independence Day, but also of our victory over the Carolina Railhawks, ascension into first place in the NASL, and Champions of the NASL 2013 Spring season. Scorpions 4 – 1 Carolina Railhawks.