NASL's Highest Scorers Come to San Antonio

Atlanta may cause trouble for the Scorpions, who have yet to score a goal this season
by Chris Hockman   |   Friday, May 03, 2013

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

Former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, the man ever capable of a good quote, once said to Scottish footballer Ian St. John: "If you're not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we'll discuss your options afterwards."

That is advice that Scorpions manager Tim Hankinson wishes he could give his side. Of course that would require the team heeding his words, and that hasn't seemed likely thus far in the season.

It's not that the Scorpions have been playing the worst soccer in NASL, as they do have the third best defense in the league, but they've been absolutely toothless on attack.

For Atlanta, it's completely the opposite. The Silverbacks have the best attack in the league, but the second worst defense.

Unfortunately for all the Scorpions work, they just haven't put the ball in the net, and going against the tactics must frustrate the heck out of Hankinson.

The first 20 minutes in San Antonio’s home opener was painful. The Scorpions have perhaps the best midfield in NASL, but their strikers couldn’t find any finishing in that game.

The Scorpions did eventually settle in to the style of play they should be using, but still they couldn't find the back of the net as their lack of preseason hurt them.

So with a quarter of the season gone, the Scorpions find themselves 6 points off the pace and another loss against Atlanta would effectively end their season.

With a second offseason looming, if the strikers on this squad don't want to be replaced in the summer window, they'll need to start producing goals.

Forward Bryan Jordan has potential to return this week, but the question will loom on Hankinson's mind if it's worth risking him. The season could well be over already and there's no point risking the one player who has looked like scoring in a game that could be meaningless.

Atlanta's attack has been deadly. Some will say that the Silverbacks have only beat lower teams, but from a team expected to be in the Scorpions position, that's surprising.

The Silverbacks beat Ft. Lauderdale, the only team worse than the Scorpions, 2-0, and then put 4 goals past Tampa, which sits at third. Atlanta’s only loss came against the top of the league Minnesota United and it still managed to put 2 goals in the back of the net.

Ruben Luna looms as a big threat for the Scorpions and is very much a case of what could have been as San Antonio had the former Dallas man on loan last season, but didn't even give him a second of action.

Set pieces will be key for the Scorpions, after having 9 corners in Edmonton last week, but failing to capitalize. Atlanta look dangerous on corners and free-kicks, so defensive and offensive set-pieces will be key.

Prediction: Atlanta's defense has been leaking goals, but the Scorpions' attack has proven incapable of scoring. If Jordan returns, San Antonio has a shot of getting off the duck, but it's hard to see much change in its fortunes. 1-0 Atlanta.

NEXT UP: May 4 – San Antonio Scorpions vs. Atlanta Silverbacks, Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas. 7:40 p.m., KSAT (ABC) and NASL Livestream.

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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