Scorpions Take on Fellow Cup Holders

After an opening round draw, the Scorpions open their new stadium against the defending champions
by Chris Hockman   |   Friday, April 12, 2013

Defending The Fort - column on San Antonio Scorpions (SASFC) & the San Antonio soccer scene.

Two teams in the NASL won trophies in 2012: the San Antonio Scorpions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. And in just the second week of the season, they meet in a crunch match.

The NASL’s season is off to a tight start as all 6 competing teams (Atlanta Silverbacks did not play) earned a draw and 1 point in their opening fixtures.

“It is a sprint," said Scorpions manager Tim Hankinson on Thursday. “You look at last year, we had a tie, a loss and a tie to start the season, which isn't great, but you have 25 more games. If it happens in these next two games we might as well give up on the season."

But it was the Rowdies who were likely the most impressive team in the opening round. Tampa may have conceded early, but it far outclassed FC Edmonton as the Rowdies held the bulk of the possession and controlled the pace of the match. They were very unlucky to not take the lead.

The Scorpions, to their credit, also did well in their match. Coming off a short and rushed preseason, they held their own against a cashed up Minnesota United side with Bryan Jordan looking dangerous as he played up front.

"We felt they would expect the obvious, but we felt Jordan had the speed," Hankinson said. "And the adaptation of 2 or 3 of our foreign players is taking a bit longer so they don't really know what an NASL game is like."

Hankinson lamented the poor preparation.

"It's one of the poorest preseasons that I've been part of,” he said. “We've had no time to integrate these guys. But one of the great benefits this year compared to last year is that … we have 2 or 3 quality players in each position."

Edin Husic looked dangerous in the midfield while the defense was solid with Stephen DeRoux making the NASL Team of the Week. One of goalkeeper Pat Hannigan's impressive saves was named NASL Play of the Week.

The Scorpions were determined to not cross the ball too often and should prove an entertaining side in 2013. But they are still not quite at the level of fitness of their opponents.

"He (Husic) will take some of them (set-pieces)," said Hankinson. “He'll take them with the right boot.”

It will be a tough and entertaining match, but the atmosphere of opening the new Toyota Field may well be enough to give the Scorpions more of an advantage.

Prediction

It's going to be a tough one to call, both teams have potential and Tampa looked good last week. But home advantage could be a big help to the Scorpions, which levels the field.

San Antonio 1-1 Tampa Bay.

NEXT UP: April 13San Antonio Scorpions vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, Toyota Field (Inaugural Game), San Antonio. 7:30pm CST, KSAT (ABC).

Chris HOCKMAN

Nationality:
Australia
College:
Univ W. Sydney & Youthworks Coll.
Club Domestic:
Houston Dynamo, San Antonio Scorpions, Austin Aztex
Club Foreign:
Central Coast Mariners
Originally from Australia found football (or soccer as you Yanks call it) a great connection in a new country. Freelance writer since 2005 covering Australian and US Soccer. Based out of San Antonio but can regularly be seen in Houston, Austin and Dallas.
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