It was a disappointing result last week that saw the San Antonio Scorpions lose at home for the second time this Fall season and third time overall. Their third loss of the season has the Scorpions in last place already seven points behind league leader Carolina. The team were a step too slow and held onto the ball a touch too long during their match against the Strikers last week. An error with a miss clearance on a free kick had the Scorpions concede their first goal followed by another set piece goal less than thirteen minutes later. San Antonio pulled one back with a set piece of their own right before the half time whistle. The second half didn’t get any better for San Antonio – with each team having trouble holding onto the ball, the game ended with few opportunities and another loss in front of the home crowd.
Today, the Scorpions take on the legendary (but just returned to the league) Cosmos in New York. Despite sitting out the Spring season, the Cosmos won their first game of the season and drew against the Rowdies in their second. This will be their second home game of the Fall season. There was a sellout crowd of over eleven thousand for their first game. (In comparison, the Scorpions had over thirteen thousand in their first home game last season.) Last week, New York visited Carolina but went down by two goals before having a second yellow card issued to one of their players before halftime. The Cosmos played the entire second half a man down and finished the game allowing another goal and earning a straight red for a second player. Those two players, Nane and Guenzatti, will be suspended for today’s matchup against the Scorpions.
This will be the first ever meeting between a San Antonio team and the New York Cosmos. It is an opportunity to create a new rivalry in the NASL league. Despite no longer having players like Pele and Beckenbauer on their team any longer, getting a win against the legendary Cosmos team will still make a big statement. The three points can go a long way in the NASL standings but the Scorpions will be able to claim “We beat the New York Cosmos.” Never having played a game against New York also means San Antonio has never lost to them. This is a chance to keep it that way.
The Scorpions have had trouble finding the same form to start the Fall season that led them to five straight wins and six wins in seven games to finish out the Spring season. This obviously hasn’t been lost on the head coach after Hankinson says:
“Right now our possession is disrupted too easily.”
“Getting guys on the same page is a challenge.”
“We hope to find ourselves in New York this weekend.”
“We just have to execute better.”
“The match against the New York Cosmos is an exciting game, and I hope that we will be playing better at that time.”
The disruption could be caused by new players joining the team during late Spring and mid-season break (Fabrice Noel, Borja Rubiato, and Tomasz Zahorski were all added to the team at this time) or perhaps some other distraction in the Scorpions organization has caused the inconsistent play all season. Either way it is concerning that six months after NASL preseason started this year, the Scorpions are still having trouble finding their identity.
On a brighter note, new signing Zahorski has proven himself to be a formidable striker. Since joining the team during the mid-season break, Zahorski has scored three goals in three games up top alongside Denissen. Zahorski was also named to the NASL Team of the Week for his play last weekend. The offense has played much better recently but the defense that only allowed 15 goals last season have already allowed 10 this season. Can Vucko and Janicki once again become the giants in defense that they were in the Spring?
This is the inaugural game for a new rivalry for the Scorpions. There has been a lot of talk recently about four new teams joining the MLS in upcoming years and San Antonio being one of those teams (including Crocketteers President James Hope live on radio yesterday!). This rivalry will be short lived if that does happen but San Antonio will always be able to say that we went into New York and came home with three points. Now the players need to make it happen. New York Cosmos 1 – 1 Scorpions.