With the 2015 spring season in the rear view mirror, the San Antonio Scorpions will be looking to make a run at the fall season title to secure their spot in the Championship playoffs in November. The spring did not unfold how the Alamo City faithful had intended, but did pan out like this writer said was highly likely; "My prediction is that San Antonio comes out in the middle for the Spring season. We will continue to build chemistry but won't win it." There is nothing the Scorpions can do about the spring now, and lamenting on it doesn't do any good. So, we look to the fall...
Going into the fall season...
The midfield was the strongest area on the field for the Scorpions in the spring. While the group has been inconsistent throughout the season, players like Nane, Castillo, and Tsiskaridze have shown they are capable of controlling the ball.
While not the strongest aspect of the team, the goal scoring opportunities were plenty for the Scorpions in the spring. San Antonio boasts the league's leading scorer in Omar Cummings (5). It seemed as though there were so many near misses for the squad in the attacking third that if they got just a couple more in the net, the entire spring story would have been written differently. As I said in the season preview, "Finishing seems to be troublesome for the Scorpions, so converting opportunities when they appear will be crucial." If the Scorpions want any shot at making the playoffs, taking advantage of goal scoring chances will be paramount.
Defense. Unfortunately, this has been the most consistent part of the Scorpions season. Some of the early struggles could have been attributed to new players and a lack of a pre-season, but those excuses ran out of merit as the season progressed. Hopefully the back line will see Brad Rusin finally join in on the action as he should be ready to play after an injury prevented him from suiting up the last few games after he was acquired from Tampa Bay. The talent on the squad is definitely there to have an impressive back line. Composure and smart play will be required to navigate the 20 game fall season for our defenders.
Familiarity. This was a weakness I saw at the start of the season, and while many players are still here that started the year, we have had turnover and an inconsistent starting XI.
These are the players who were acquired before or during the spring AND who have left during or at the end of the spring season:
Players acquired during the spring and summer break who are still with the team:
Key games: These games in the fall season will determine the success, or failure, of the season.
July 11th - vs Tampa Bay
July 25th - vs Minnesota United
August 15th - AT New York Cosmos
September 19th - AT Tampa Bay
October 10th - AT Indy Eleven
October 17th - AT Ottawa Fury
October 21st - AT Fort Lauderdale Strikers
October 24th - vs New York Cosmos
October 31st - AT Minnesota United
All games against the league leaders will be critical if the Scorpions are to turn their season around. New York, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay are set up nicely in the combined standing heading into the fall. Wins against these teams will allow San Antonio to shrink the points gap, couple this with better play at home and the Scorpions should find themselves in the playoffs.
As I said in my season preview, the month of October will be critical. Not only is it the home stretch of the season, it is a brutal schedule. Three away games in the span of 11 days will be a tough, mental test for our squad, and ending the season vs New York & United could be a blessing in disguise. "It would give us the opportunity to make up ground on them if it is the case that we are chasing them in the Fall. [Which we are] It could also be disastrous if we fall a part in those games."
While my hopes are that the fall will be a different narrative than the spring, the Scorpions will miss the post-season if their form doesn't improve. Better defending and taking advantage of scoring opportunities will be the story lines and defining parts of the fall and determine whether the Scorpions are successful or not. If the team gets off to another poor start then it would be safe to say goodbye to any chance of a repeat. But who knows, anything and crazy things happen in the world of soccer. Sit back and buckle up because if the fall is anything like the spring was, the rest of this NASL season will be a great show.
Soccer On -ASC
All things NASL
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