All-time regular season series: Tied 1-0-1
2015 head-to-head series: Tied 1-0-1
The Armada's first trip to Texas didn't go as planned. In their inaugural season, the expansion team has yet to take all 3 points away from the confines of their home stadium - and that trend continued in San Antonio. On the other hand, the Scorpions were able to break their streak of 5 games without a win, their last coming in early July.
Last week's game wasn't the most exciting game ever played, but there were definitely some good chances created by both sides. The game was scoreless until second half substitution Billy Forbes received a nice through ball from Tyler Gibson and slotted home the winning goal past the Armada keeper. The goal gave the home side the all important 3 points to stay within striking distance of a Championship berth. The win was also the first shutout since the team's last win, a 3-0 victory against the Rowdies, and the first shutout for keeper Daniel Fernandes' San Antonio career.
Both the Armada and the Scorpions will meet up again this weekend, this time in Jacksonville, for the final meeting this season. The Armada squeaked out a 2-1 win in the Spring at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, but the visitors will be looking to take all 3 points this time around. Look for Forbes and Cummings to break down the Armada defense to find the back of the net.
With a game in hand, the Alamo City boys are only 6 points away from 4th place in the combined standings. The guys know how important each remaining game is. If they can take 6 points from both of these games, it will set themselves up pretty well to make a run for a repeat obtainable.
This is a pretty important game for the San Antonio Scorpions. Not only can it set us up for a chance to possibly move up the combined standings, but it is also the club's 100th regular season NASL match! In 99 regular season games, the Scorpions have an all-time W-D-L record of 43-20-36 with a win percentage of 43.43%. While the winner of this game won't receive a trophy, it is a milestone in the history of our club and a win will be all that more special. The team will be traveling to Florida with confidence knowing they can win. I predict a slim victory for the Scorpions in Jacksonville.
The game is this Saturday, August 29 in Jacksonville, Florida at 6:30pm CST. You can watch it on ESPN3. #JAXvSAS
Soccer On -ASC
The league released its preliminary list of candidates for the Golden Ball award yesterday. The award is given to the league's most valuable player (MVP). San Antonio's second year player and 2014 NASL assists leader, Billy Forbes, was on that short list.
Who do you think has been the MVP for the San Antonio Scorpions?
Soccer On -ASC
All-time regular season series: JAX leads 1-0-0
2015 head-to-head series: JAX leads 1-0-0
When the Armada visit the Scorpions this weekend, it will be their first visit to the Lone Star State & Toyota Field. This will be the second all-time meeting between these two sides, with the expansion side earning the first win back in the spring in Jacksonville. While the Armada have had their struggles this year, they are solidifying themselves as a solid middle of the table team this year. They definitely have had a better year so far than the reigning champions.
San Antonio is coming off a tough 2-1 loss to the New York Cosmos. New Scorpion signee, Milton Palacio, opened up his NASL account on his debut, but the Alamo City boys would come up short. In an unfortunate event, defender Brad Rusin was credited with an own goal which turned out to be the difference in the game. To make the Scorpions' situation more desperate, they haven't won a match in their last 5 tries. Their last win was Week 2 of the fall season, a 3-0 win over the Rowdies. Jacksonville is coming off a 1-0 win against the Silverbacks and are riding a 2 game win streak coming into this weekend's clash.
Jacksonville is currently only 4 points away from a top 4 finish, while the Scorpions are now 9 points away. While there is still time and points available to make a top 4 finish, with how this season has gone, a huge turnaround will be necessary if there will be post-season play for a second straight year for the Scorpions. The Scorpions have yet to reach the post-season in back-to-back years in their short history.
This will be the first of a back-to-back against the Armada. Next week the Scorpions will visit the Armada in Jacksonville for the final meeting between the two sides this season.
The Scorpions have been playing better on the offensive side of the ball as of late, New York was the first team to hold San Antonio to a goal or less since the Eddies in the first game of the fall back on July 5th. It's the defense that has been the Achilles heal for this team. They own the league's worst goal differential (-8) & have given up the most goals so far (33). While we did lose the first meeting against the Armada, I believe that we will take advantage of our home field. Omar Cummings scored in the first game and I believe he'll score at least a brace in this game. I'm predicting a 2-1 win for the home team.
The game is this Saturday, August 22nd at Toyota Field in San Antonio. Kick-off is at 7:30pm CST. #SASvJAX
Soccer On -ASC
All-time regular season series: Tied 3-0-3
2015 head-to-head series: NYC leads 1-0-0
San Antonio is coming off a hard fought draw against the surging Atlanta Silverbacks in Georgia. After falling behind 3-1, the visitors never gave up and earned a road point. NASL Golden Boot leader, Omar Cummings, netted himself a brace in the Jungle and has a 3 goal lead over the next two players in the goals scored category. While it seems as though the offense is finally clicking, the defense has yet to improve, in fact, it has allowed more goals in the same number of games as it did in the spring.
The Scorpions seemingly have addressed their defensive deficiencies after signing GK Daniel Fernandes & Khari Stephenson on loan, and acquiring Milton Palacios last week. Stephenson was the only new signing that saw any play time against the Silverbacks. Whether or not these additions make a difference is yet to be seen as they haven't played though.
The road to a top 4 finish isn't getting any easier for the Alamo City boys, either. Their next opponent won the spring season championship, thrashed the Scorpions in their spring meeting 3-0, and have only lost one game this season. The New York Cosmos have secured their berth in the post season Championship but have been overtaken in the combined standings by the Ottawa Fury for the Woosnam Cup. It will be an uphill battle for the Scorpions the rest of the fall. If they can manage a win in New York, they will be only a win or two from that coveted top 4 standing. With the way this season has turned out, the fact that a post season berth is still possible is amazing.
Q & A with Nick & Luis, co-hosts of Cosmos Country Podcast.
ASC: It seems as though the "Raúl effect" hasn't really materialized in getting more spectators in the stands. If so, why not? What seems to be missing in order to get people to come out to games?
Nick: It was a big story at first but since then it has worn off. In terms of getting supporters out, that is not because Raúl is no longer a star, that has more to do with the location of Hofstra. The Real Madrid fans all came out to the first game and if the stadium was more accessible to Public Transportation, they most likely would come out to more games.
Luis: Also, the perception of NASL being a minor league has definitely hurt its numbers. Raúl is a name that is recognized, but some of the stars being brought over to NYCFC have more pull. As suspect as the whole Lampard situation was, he is a recent star of EPL and a name like Pirlo is hard to compete with.
ASC: After running the table in the spring, how is the coaching staff keeping the players focused, since they already have a place in The Championship?
Nick: I think the focus is going to be a challenge to keep but throwing in younger players into the mix helps keep players fresh. For example, seeing Haji Wright get a start as well as Ruben Bover from Cosmos B. This is exciting not only the crowd but the whole organization to see younger stars from their B team get into the A team.
Luis: The younger stars are absolutely getting much attention and excitement. But other guys who struggled to find minutes in the spring are also getting their chance to shine. Recently Adam Moffat has seen much more time than players like Danny Szetela and players like Sebastian Guenzatti and Andres Flores who found it hard to break into the Starting XI are seeing more time as players like Walter Restrepo and Leo Fernandes see more rest.
ASC: What's the latest news on a stadium? Is Brooklyn in serious consideration, instead of Belmont?
Nick: The Borough President of Brooklyn is very serious about wanting a soccer team in NYC. I think it would be a fantastic option. Belmont is still pending an answer from the state. Just an answer. It has been 3 years since the Cosmos submitted their response to the RFP and no one has given an answer. The Cosmos are opening up their options to other locations at this point.
Luis: Nick nailed it.
ASC: Is it the money, the brand recognition, both or something else that has brought players like Haji Wright and Alexis Velela to New York?
Nick: I think it's a little Brand Recognition and money but I think the key factor is the freedom of signing with NASL. Signing with MLS is not the best option for many younger stars and the NASL model frees them up to not only sign with whom they want but then go overseas with no ties.
Luis: I think between the freedom of the NASL with signings (like Nick explained) and the establishment of a potent B team focused on development and granting a pathway to the first team, there are a number of reasons they would be drawn here.
ASC: Thoughts on #NYCSoccerWarz? Are Cosmos fans embracing it?
Nick: Oh big time! The Cosmos fans are very vocal about their participation into the NYC Soccer Wars. To me, the Cup is a lot of fun when we play the two MLS sides. It brings about some great atmosphere. However, just win hardware!
Luis: The Cosmos fans definitely do. Between the banter, memes, tifos, and actual gameday environment, there is no question.
ASC: NYC's biggest rival in NASL?
Nick: Tampa - There is History between the clubs as well as a modern day fan rivalry. Also the teams have played some really fun games.
Luis: I will say Tampa for historical reasons, but in the modern era I don't think the fireworks are all there. Based on the chippiness of their last two encounters, I think we are seeing one developing with Ottawa.
Nick: I'm a homer 3-1 Cosmos
Luis: I think the Cosmos will take this. San Antonio has been bleeding goals lately and I'm inclined to think we might see a repeat of the 3-0 win from spring.
The Scorpions can't lean on their defense to help them win games; the only way they will win is if they can score - and score often! An away match against the Cosmos is always difficult, especially during the season that they are having! With only one loss this season, it is hard to predict that they would lose to the Scorpions on their home turf. I have to agree with Nick, a 3-1 loss seems a likely outcome for this weekend's match up.
The game is this Saturday, August 15th in New York. Kick-off is at 6:00pm CST. #NYCvSAS
A big thanks to Nick & Luis from Cosmos Country Podcast (@TICCPod) for taking the time to answer some questions for me!
Soccer On -ASC
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