The San Antonio Scorpions absolutely needed a win in Ottawa to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. A wonderful defensive display, especially by league MVP candidate Romuald Peiser, sent the Texans home without any points. The Alamo City boys are still technically in the hunt for the 4th playoff spot, but a miracle ending to the 2015 season would be needed to make it happen.
Both offenses tested the others keeper in the first half. Ottawa's Tom Heinemann had a few chances at the Scorpions goal, including a 1v1 with Fernandes who showed his skill by securing the ball off the shot. The Scorpions had a few chances of their own, making several attempts that stretched the Ottawa defense. Rafael Castillo challenged Peiser off a free kick that was headed to the top 90, but was brilliantly snatched up by the league's leading goalie. Even Omar Cummings had a great opportunity to give the visitors the lead, but Peiser was there to deny him as well.
The winning goal came in the 68th minute, scored by the Fury's Mauro Eustaquio who beat Fernandes for the only score on Sunday. The game was played pretty cleanly until the last few minutes when Scorpions sensation, Kris Tyrpak, received his first yellow with the Red & Black and then a harsh straight red was given to Eric Hassli. The tackle was unnecessary at best, but Yuri Rudolf, the head ref decided it garnered a sending off. After further inspection, Hassli barely touched defender Colin Falvey, who should be awarded an Oscar for his convincing embellishment of the foul. What is more the travesty is the commentary by the Ottawa Fury announcers.
I'll let you decide if that is professional announcing or not. (Video thanks to ScorpionsHQ)
And here is the "red card" foul in detail.
Even without the sending off, it just wasn't in the cards for San Antonio to get past the Ottawa defense.
This leaves the Scorpions with 3 games left to play. The post-season is virtually out of reach. The next few months should be interesting.
Will Marcina be sacked?
Will the team and/or stadium be sold?
Who will the Scorpions be able to retain for 2016?
We'll keep you updated as news breaks.
Soccer On -ASC
All-time regular season series: Tied 1-3-1
2015 head-to-head series: OTT leads 0-1-1
The San Antonio Scorpions' next opponent is the Ottawa Fury. The Fury have had a renaissance this Fall spearheaded by the league's best goalie, and MVP candidate, Romauld Peiser. The Frenchman has started every game this season for the Fury and boasts the league's best Goals Against Average (GAA) of 0.78. The only other keeper that is remotely close to that number is New York's Jimmy Maurer at 0.96 GAA. The Canadian side has locked up its place in The Championship, the NASL's post-season playoffs, and became the first Canadian side to do so in the modern NASL era.
The Fury had the chance to lock up their first trophy in the NASL last weekend but gave up a late equalizer to the Tampa Bay Rowdies that prevented them from wrapping up the Fall season title. The Scorpions, on the other hand, earned their first road victory of the Fall, and first since a June tilt at Atlanta, to give the Alamo boys all three points. It was their first victory in a month - and against the same opponent, the Indy Eleven. The Scorpions will be looking to take that momentum north of the border in a must win game if they want any chance at stealing the coveted 4th place spot.
San Antonio will look to newly added forward, Kris Tyrpak, from the Austin Aztex, to continue his hot start to his time in the Alamo City. Tyrpak has scored two goals in as many games for the Red & Black, earning himself a Play of the Week honor and Team of the Week honor along the way. In addition to Tyrpak's arrival, the play of midfielder Marvin Chávez has been crucial to the success of the Scorpions' attack.
Keys to the game.
Buckle down on defense.
This will be the final meeting of the 2015 regular season between the Fury and the Scorpions. While the post-season is technically still in reach, the visiting Scorpions should play loose and maybe the right result will happen. It'll be tough to score on the team that is leading the league in goals against, only having given up 21 all season - 8 goals better than the next best team.
I expect Tyrpak and Chávez to continue to play well. If we can get to the 20' mark without conceding, we might just have a chance. The Scorpions can't continue to give up early leads, especially multiple goal leads. While a win is needed, a draw is the most likely outcome when we play the Fury this weekend.
The game is this Sunday, October 18th at 2:00pm CST. #OTTvSAS
Soccer On -ASC
The San Antonio Scorpions ended their 2015 spring campaign with a draw against the visiting Canadians from Ottawa, 0-0. While neither side could find the back of the net, both defenses put in a strong showing for the finale. Ottawa's goal keeper, Romauld Peiser, improved upon his modern day NASL shutout streak to 526 minutes while San Antonio native, Matt Cardone, received his first professional start due to a warm-up injury to Daryl Sattler. Cardone played for Trinity University in San Antonio and posted his first shutout in this game. The draw sends the Scorpions into seventh place on the NASL table with 12 points, only two points from a tie for fourth place.
The 2014 NASL champs started out their 2015 campaign to a poor start, posting a 0-1-3 record in their first four games. An opening night loss to the upstart Tampa Bay Rowdies dampened the excitement that was carried over from their league championship just a few months before. After losing to Indy Eleven by an amazing goalazo and losing a heart breaker to the newest NASL team, the Jacksonville Armada, the Scorpions looked to turn a corner with a two game win streak. That ended with a 3-0 thrashing from the eventual spring champs, the New York Cosmos. San Antonio ended their spring season with a 1-2-0 record and finished tied with Jacksonville with 12 points.
The story of the spring was a porous defense which allowed the third most goals in the league. The Scorpions were only able to hold three of their opponents scoreless - allowing 1.5 goals on average per game. The good news for the team is that they are only two points off of fourth place heading into the fall. The two season winners and the next two teams with the highest point totals will make the playoffs. San Antonio only has two ways of extending their season into November - they must either win the fall championship, or earn enough points to be in the top four in the combined standings at the end of the season.
The Alamo City boys will have a couple weeks off from NASL play. Their next game is an international friendly against the Costa Rican side, C.S. Cartaginés on June 27th at Toyota Field. They begin their fall season on July 5th against FC Edmonton in Fort McMurray, Alberta in the inaugural "Wood Buffalo Cup" - here is my story on the new cup.
There is still time for the Scorpions to turn their season around and make a push for the post-season, but the defense will have to continue to improve if that is to happen!
Soccer On -ASC
The spring season got off to a terrible start for the Scorpions, but in their spring finale they have a chance to move up into the top-half of the table going into the fall. It's a good turnaround from April, but they will have to first win against the visiting Fury to salvage the spring season. San Antonio is coming off a huge road victory in Atlanta where Omar Cummings added to his goal tally and Daryl Satter looked like Tim Howard against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. Finishing in the top-half of the table will make the spring seem less like a failure and more of an improvement going into the fall.
The Fury, in their second year, are just one point behind the Scorpions; they too will be looking to end the spring on a high note and possibly finish in the top-half as well. The Fury come into this final game after a scoreless draw in Jacksonville against the expansion Armada. Their goal keeper, Romuald Peiser, is currently on a shutout streak of 436 minutes (and counting), which is a modern day NASL record. The Fury haven't been able to find the back of the net since a 1-0 victory over Indy Eleven back on May 23rd.
Last season & Outlook.
The Fury and Scorpions have only met up three times, all coming in 2014 as it was the first season for Ottawa. San Antonio is 1-2-0 all-time against the Canadians; the lone win was in Ottawa and a draw each at home and away. The playoffs are still a possibility for both teams - if they do well in the fall. Ottawa's defense has been pretty solid this spring, posting five shutouts, though their attack only scoring five total goals so far this spring.
Players to watch.
My player to watch for Ottawa is their goal keeper, Romuald Peiser. He hasn't allowed a goal against the Fury in four matches. Can he continue to keep the ball out of the net - facing the leagues' leading goal scorer in Cummings - and get an important away victory, and first against the Scorpions?
I'll be looking to Omar Cummings again for San Antonio to produce more goals. He is our most consistent and biggest threat in the attacking third. Once our midfield starts to take control of the game, I'll look to see more balls played up field to find the fancy feet of the Jamaican international.
The Fury have never beaten the Scorpions, and I don't think it will happen on Saturday. With few consistent attacking options from the visitors, Daryl Satter should be able to post another shutout. If our midfield and forwards can break down the Fury defense, I believe it will be a successful end to the spring season for the home team. 2-0 to the Alamo City boys.
Game time is this Saturday, June 13th at Toyota Field at 7:30pm CST. #SASvOTT
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