San Antonio finally got its first taste of victory this season as they defeated the visiting Carolina Railhawks, 1-0, on Saturday. The win was a much needed boost for the confidence of the team, who came into it having lost three of their first four games. Two of the losses should have been draws; the long goal from Indy Eleven and the deep-into-stoppage-time goal at Jacksonville sealed the fate of the Scorpions to stay winless - until Saturday.
This was the first shutout of the season for the Scorpions, who until the game against Carolina, had given up a league worst nine goals against - that accolade is now in the hands of San Antonio's next opponent, FC Edmonton. The defense really stepped up against Carolina, and it just so happens that the shutout coincided with the return of the Scorpions' captain, Adrian Cann. According to the league's stats, San Antonio only allowed seven Carolina shots throughout the game, none on target. The Railhawks were without their Leading scorer, Nacho Novo, Nazmi Albadawi, Futty Danso and Simone Bracalello - none made the trip to Toyota Field due to injuries.
On the other side of the ball, San Antonio created plenty of chances to score. 12 total shots, two on target, and one goal was enough to send the Railhawks home empty handed. The Alamo City boys played with most of the possession, especially in the first half. The break through finally came in the 78' when substitute, and just on-side, Billy Forbes snuck past the Carolina defense on a pass from Rafael Castillo and subsequently passed the ball to an open Bright Dike, also a substitute, who slotted it home for his first goal with the Scorpions.
With the first win of the season finally in the bag, the Alamo City boys take to the road again this Sunday to play the Eddies of FC Edmonton. After that game, they travel to New York to face the league leading Cosmos. The next two games, both on the road, will definitely determine if the Scorpions can at least end the Spring season in the top half of the table or not.
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The Railhawks currently sit in the middle of the Spring season standings with one win and three ties to their name. Their only loss is to the up-start Atlanta Silverbacks. They can still win the Spring and have at least given themselves a decent start in the combined standings when it will count for playoff spots.
The defending champs have stumbled out of the starting gate with three losses and only a single draw in their first four games. While the Spring championship is out of reach, there are still points to be earned...and San Antonio needs as many as it can muster. A draw seemed the likely outcome when the Scorpions visited the Armada last week; that was until Alhassane Keita scored the game-winner deep into second-half stoppage time, giving the expansion team all three points. There is still time to turn their season around, but it needs to start now.
Last season & Outlook.
San Antonio is 7-0-4 all-time against the Railhawks with a 2-0-1 record against them in the 2014 season. The lone loss to Carolina last year was away in Cary, North Carolina. The Railhawks definitely still have a realistic shot of claiming the Spring championship; that goal is gone for the Scorpions. The only goal for San Antonio in their remaining six games should be to try and recover as much ground as they can in the standings and play better in the Fall.
Players to watch.
San Antonio's player to watch is Omar Cummings. His scissor-kick goal against Jacksonville won him the Play of the Week honors for week 5 in the NASL. He is tied with Carolina's Nacho Novo for the most goals scored this season with three. He has been the most consistent scorer the Scorpions have and should be looked at to score more.
On the other side of the ball, Nacho Novo is the player to watch for Carolina. As their leading scorer, he is a threat in the attacking third, and with the Scorpions defensive woes, should get plenty of chances if there is no improvement in San Antonio's defense.
This is desperation time for San Antonio. The players and fans are desperate for their first win of the season. After losing deep into stoppage time last week against the Armada, I will look for the Alamo boys to come out with purpose and determination. While this game will feature the league's top goal scorers, I don't think many balls will see the back of the net. These two teams have never played to a draw, and I don't expect that trend to stop today. I may be over optimistic, but I'm gunning for a 1-0 home victory to put our boys back on track in the Spring.
The weather calls for rain all weekend long in the Alamo City, so it could be miserable conditions for both teams...something that will most definitely have an impact on the game.
The game is TODAY, Saturday, May 9th at 7:30 pm CST at Toyota Field in San Antonio. #SASvCAR
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