All-time regular season series: 3-5-4
2015 head-to-head series: 0-1-0
The last time that these two teams met was in Minnesota this spring. The outcome was a draw, but was not without some excitement. San Antonio came out very strong to start the game. The first half was highlighted by Scorpion midfielder Zourab Tsiskaridze's 60 yard golazo to open up the scoring. He took a free kick & punted the ball past the Loons' 'keeper who was caught off his line and scored. Here it is again:
After falling behind in the second half, San Antonio would equalize and leave Minnesota with a point via a Castillo PK in the dying moments of the game. It was an exciting game that gave the Scorpions their first point of the season after failing to earn any points in their first two outings.
Q & A with Northern Pitch's Kyle Eliason.
ASC: It seems like Christian Ramirez has been playing better since the departure of Ibarra. Is he filling in that vacancy? Can you explain his recent form?
Kyle: Ramirez and Ibarra developed an excellent understanding over the course of the 2014 season—I would hesitate to claim Ibarra's departure has been responsible for a return to form for Ramirez. Ramirez rightly came into the Spring Season as the first-choice center forward but the Loons were disjointed as a team in attack at the beginning of the 2015 campaign. While Lagos has tried to fit Ramirez and Pablo Campos into the same eleven at different points, those limited attempts have proven generally unfruitful. Additionally, Lagos has a track record of only tinkering with his team's starting lineup after disappointing performances. It was more the case that Campos came in for Ramirez when the team was struggling and Ramirez did not get another shot at starting until the team hit another rough patch. He did have a few nice shots on goal coming off the bench in the middle of the Fall Season. His recent play is more the combination of opportunity, improved attacking play from his teammates and the confidence that comes with both.
ASC: What is the Loons' perspective of the rivalry between San Antonio & Minnesota? Is there one?
Kyle: There have been some excellent exchanges on the field between the Loons and Scorpions, which is where, absent proximity—which can be difficult to come by for many North American clubs—you would hope would be the origin of any rivalry. However, I think Cornfield's antics have hampered the development of such a rivalry as he is seen as a bit of a comical try-hard by many in Minnesota. If you really are someone's rival, there is not a great need to repeatedly remind them.
ASC: I definitely agree about the formation of a rivalry - if it is there you don't need to constantly remind them of it.
Kyle: I am rather optimistic. Brent Kallman replacing Cristiano Dias has helped shore up a defense that was among the more porous during the Spring Season and communication between Sammy Ndjock and his back line is slowly improving. Additionally, the Loons look more coordinated on attack. Kalif Alhassan was the highest rated reserve over the course of the Spring Season in Northern Pitch's staff and community match ratings and it is nice to see him receiving additional minutes in the wake of Ibarra's departure. Ibson has looked better in a central attacking role as of recent. New loanee Yago offers a change of pace to Daniel Mendes out wide. Ramirez is scoring again. If only Saturday's match were taking place in Blaine. Still, I think the Loons will pick up all three points. I will say 2-1 Minnesota.
Both teams have been very inconsistent this year, a far cry from the top contenders that controlled the league in 2014. Both teams are learning to play without major contributors to their teams; Miguel Ibarra is now playing in Liga MX with Club León, while Julius James, the San Antonio defender, is out for the season after breaking his leg just a few games ago.
Since the Scorpions joined the league in 2012, the regular season series between San Antonio and Minnesota has been pretty even at 3-5-4, with Minnesota earning one more win so far. With current form coming into play, I am predicting a draw for this game. Assuming that Omar returns to the lineup, I believe that the combination of he and Billy Forbes will give the Loons' defense a hard time and possibly give us some advantages...if we take them.
The game is this Saturday, July 23rd at Toyota Field in San Antonio. Kick-off is at 7:30pm CST. #SASvMNU
A big thanks to Kyle (@kreliason) & Northern Pitch (@northernpitch) for exchanging a few questions with me!
Soccer On -ASC
In their first midweek league game of the season, the San Antonio Scorpions drew 2-2 with the visiting Eddies from Edmonton. This was the last game in the two teams' head-to-head series this season, finishing it at an even 1-1-1. The Scorpions struck first as Omar Cummings added to his league leading goal total in the 17' minute to put the home side up 1-0. Edmonton would equalize on a lapse in defending by the Scorpions and they left the pitch even at 1-1 going into halftime.
San Antonio would regain the lead when halftime substitution, César Elizondo, slotted in a Billy Forbes cross in front of an empty goal. The goal came just as the video board at Toyota Field was showing a video from Julius James, who broke his leg just a few days before. The timing was perfect. Unfortunately, the good vibes didn't last. Edmonton's Cristian Raudales fired in a screamer of a shot past Sattler in the 72' minute to score the final goal of the game. There were some questionable calls by ref Mark Kadlecik in the box this game as well; in the first half, Marvin Chavez had an impressive run going into the box, was taken down, but was called for the foul - and later in the second half, Giuseppe Gentile was tripped up in the box, but Kadlecik swallowed his whistle and play continued.
In the end, the Scorpions were the better team in this game. They were more aggressive and really played hard, especially taking back possession as soon as they could. The outcome feels like a loss, but the team comes away with a point and is still only 2 points away from a playoff berth - still very much in the playoff hunt.
The team has a quick turnaround and will play Carolina on the road on Saturday. #CARvSAS
Soccer On -ASC
It was only 10 days ago that the Eddies and Scorpions met in Fort McMurray, Alberta to open up both of their fall seasons. The Eddies handed the Scorpions a 4-0 beat down, tied for the worst margin of loss in San Antonio history, and claimed the inaugural Wood Buffalo Cup. San Antonio ended the game with 9 players as goalie Daryl Sattler and defender Nana Attakora both received red cards as the frustration built up with the visitors from the Lone Star State.
San Antonio will look to right that wrong. The Scorpions are coming off their most complete game of the year that saw them beat the league leading Tampa Bay Rowdies, 3-0, at Toyota Field. The Rowdies had previously embarrassed San Antonio in the spring opener. The Scorpions will look to build off that confidence and hand the Eddies a similar result and get revenge for the fall opening loss. Hopefully the confines of home, Toyota Field, and an increase in confidence will lead to a second straight victory. But San Antonio will have to do it without veteran defender Julius James.
During the game against the Rowdies, James, while trying to protect the net, fell down awkwardly and broke his leg. Replays showed a nasty break and he had to be carted off the field. His replacement, Brad Rusin, should get some more playing time with James out for the remainder of the season. San Antonio will also get Daryl Sattler and Nana Attakora back from suspension. It will be interesting to see if head coach Alen Marcina chooses to go with Sattler in goal, or Matt Cardone. Cardone posted is second career NASL shutout as a starter against the Rowdies.
Edmonton is coming off a 1-1 draw against Fort Lauderdale, gaining the point only because of an own goal by Strikers goalie, Josh Ford, in the 86' minute. The Eddies will be without Lance Laing, who scored twice in the fall opener, due to his playing with the Reggae Boys in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Playing at home after a huge win should boost the energy level and confidence of this Scorpions team. A 2-1 win over the Eddies in the last match-up between the two teams this regular season is in order. Look for Omar Cummings to continue to add to his goal total.
The game is TODAY, Wednesday, July 15 at 7:30 pm CST at Toyota Field. #SASvFCE
Soccer On -ASC
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