Scorpions Show Importance of Preseason

The Scorpions have had a poor start to their season and there’s one simple reason: a poor preseason
by Chris Hockman   |   Friday, April 19, 2013

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

“It’s been the worst preseason I’ve ever had.”

Those were the remarks of San Antonio Scorpions manager Tim Hankinson at a media day last Thursday.

It’s hard to disagree with Hankinson, since the Scorpions’ preseason consisted of a Division II NCAA School, University of Incarnate Word, which was just making the transition to Division I, and NPSL side Houston Hurricanes.

In no way is that an adequate preparation for an NASL season, especially when compared to Tampa Bay, which beat San Antonio last Saturday, 2-0.

The Scorpions looked completely underdone against Tampa Bay with poor communication and the team not able to play Hankinson’s style.

“I’m angry,” said Hankinson after the match on Saturday, adding that he frustrated about the lack of playing style from his side and the terrible preseason.

The side spent the first 20 minutes of the match lifting the ball over the heads of their talented midfield, which went completely against Hankinson’s style. It showed that this team had a lack of communication and couldn’t play the way their manager wanted.

There were visa issues that left the Scorpions with a small squad until right up to the start of the season, hence why they struggled to play a full preseason.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, played 4 college teams, including 3 Division II schools in Eckerd, Tampa and Saint Leo, and one Division I school in South Florida. Those 4 matches were followed by the highly anticipated I-4 derby as the Rowdies suffered a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Orlando City.

But by far the best part of Tampa’s preseason was the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic where it got to take on 3 MLS sides in DC United, Montreal Impact and Sporting Kansas City.

While Fort Lauderdale fans might want to mock Tampa’s results in the tournament, where it was outscored by its opponent 9-1, preseason isn’t about the results.

Those heavy losses against big opponents helped Tampa Bay get a fast start to the NASL spring season, and with only the winner going to the Soccer Bowl, that could prove vital.

By contrast the Scorpions sit rock bottom of the NASL, and while it’s still in its early days, the season is on the verge of collapsing on them. With 2 MLS sides near San Antonio, a luxury compared to its NASL rivals that aren’t New York, there’s no reason San Antonio couldn’t have played more quality opponents.

Yes, San Antonio would have been a weak squad, and yes it would have lost heavily, but at least some of its squad would have been better prepared. It would have been an even better look at its reserves, too.

“We basically have preseason all over again,” said Hankinson after the Tampa Bay loss looking forward to a week off.

Unfortunately for the fans, another bad result could well mean the entire spring season is really a preseason ahead of fall.

NEXT UP: April 28 – San Antonio Scorpions vs. FC Edmonton, Clarke Stadium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 4 p.m. EST, NASL Live Stream.

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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