NASL All-Stars and No Stars

With the help of SN writer Daniel Casey, San Antonio columnist Chris Hockman presents the best and worst of the 2013 NASL Spring season
by Chris Hockman   |   Friday, July 12, 2013

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

The first split season of NASL was certainly a rollercoaster ride.

That was certainly expected from a San Antonio perspective. Four weeks into season it was as good as over for the Scorpions, but an incredible late run put them close to the Apertura crown and has to establish them as favorites for the Fall season.

With that in mind, it's time to look back at the 2013 Spring Season as we see my All-Stars and the No-Stars.

The All-Stars:

GK: Akira Fitzgerald (Carolina RailHawks)

DEF: Kyle Altman (Minnesota United), Lance Laing (FC Edmonton), Stephen DeRoux (San Antonio Scorpions), Mark Bloom (Atlanta Silverbacks)

MID: Luke Mulholland (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Kentaro Takada (MNU), Javier Saavedra (SAS), Hans Denissen (SAS)

FWD: Brian Shriver (CAR), Ruben Luna (ATL)

Bench: Matt Van Oekel (MNU), Blake Wagner (SAS), Albert Watson (FCE), Greg Janicki (SAS), Kupono Low (CAR), Georgi Hristov (TBR)

Manager: Brian Haynes (ATL)  

Akira Fitzgerald had a stellar season in goal for Carolina in what was a hard decision. He was certainly helped by regularity whereas most other teams chopped and changed their keepers.

The defensive combination of Altman, Laing, DeRoux and Bloom provides a solid base, but all 4 are not afraid to get forward and are all willing to put their bodies on the line to prevent the opposition from scoring.

Midfield sees some controversy with Hans Denissen pushed into the midfield. He'd play a more typical No. 10 role and would often run up front, but it was the way to fit a 4-4-2 that you know Haynes would like.

Mulholland was yet again impressive for Tampa Bay while Takada didn't have any single performance that stood out, but was just solid all year and often under-appreciated.

Saavedra had something of a Renaissance for the Scorpions. After what was a disappointing season last year, little was expected but he came up big time for the Alamo City club to really be one of the stars of the season, defying his age.

Up front it's hard to argue with Shriver's inclusion. He just misses the Golden Boot honor by virtue of more time played than Denissen, but he had an impressive season up front while Ruben Luna proved a vital cog in Atlanta's charge to the league title.

The No-Stars:

GK: Joe Nasco (ATL)

DEF: Stephane Guillaume (FTL), Martyn Lancaster (ATL), Antonio Rago (FCE), Toni Stahl (FTL)

MID: Walter Ramirez (SAS), Thurstan Johnson (TBR), Pecka (FTL), Hosman Ramos (FTL)

FWD: Estaban Bayona (SAS), Eriq Zavaleta (SAS)

Manager: Daryl Shore (FTL)

There will be less time spent on the No-Stars as we wish to accentuate the positives. But a few clarifications: This is not just the worst 11 players in NASL, but rather a mix of players who are either overrated or just plain bad. So while a guy like Ramirez had moments, he is certainly not deserving of the adoration he receives.

Zavaleta has MLSSoccer.com to thank for his inclusion. Originally, he wasn't making this No-Stars side as, while he was poor, there wasn't much in front of him at San Antonio and he at least kept Bayona out of the side. Major League Soccer wrote an article on Monday praising Zavaleta for seemingly singlehandedly rescuing the Scorpions season. It was poorly done and completely inaccurate and thus helped Zavaleta meet the overrated criteria.

The No-Stars now have 1 month off to get ready and prove their selection wrong. Bring on the Fall Season.

Daniel Casey contributed to this report.

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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