The San Antonio Scorpions broke the hearts of the Carolina RailHawks with a 2-0 win at Toyota Field that denied the visitors a chance to win the NASL Spring Season title and meant the Atlanta Silverbacks won the first half of the 2013 season and the right to host Soccer Bowl.
San Antonio themselves were eyeing top spot, but once news filtered through of a 3-0 Atlanta win in Minnesota, knew they could only play the role of spoiler.
Hans Denissen scored a doubel, just as he did last week, taking his total to eight goals on the campaign.
The Dutch striker scored very late in the first half to take a 1-0 lead off of a rebound that was created from a shot by Blake Wagner from about 20 yards out. Then with time running out and Carolina pressing, he pounced again to double his tally.
"We had to press the game and I think we did a great job and the energy from the guys certainly came from the heart," said coach Tim Hankinson whose Scorpions have now won five straight games after not winning during the opening month of the season.
"We wanted to finish this spring season on a high note and I think the fans saw a great one. We had some performances that were really gutsy and then played to the strength of our game and that led to great results."
The game began with a noticeable tension, as both teams are battling to win the Spring Season Championship.
"San Antonio was a handful in this first half and we’ve not been moving the ball as we’d like and to give up a goal that late in the half was not what we wanted,” said RailHawks assistant coach Dewan Bader. at halftime as coach Colin Clarke rushed to the locker room to rally his troops.
The Scorpions had an opportunity to score in the 10th minute when forward Eriq Zavaleta stole the ball from the Carolina backline, only to have his shot blocked by a RailHawk defender.
Just two minutes later, Zavaleta had another chance to score when Denissen created space and tapped the ball to Javier Saavedra, who crossed it into the middle of the field. Zaveleta then headed Saavedra’s cross over the cross bar.
Carolina had their best chance to score in the 38th minute when Brian Shriver sent a cross to Cesar Elizondo, who jumped over the entire Scorpions’ backline, only to head the agonizingly against the post.
Denissen’s goal then ended the half to give the Scorpions a 1-0 lead heading into the second half.
The RailHawks again rattled the woodwork and Shriver was denied what would have been a league-best ninth goal of the season, but it was not to be for the RailHawks.
|New York Cosmos||31||14||9||4||1||10|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||20||14||5||5||4||3|
|Minnesota United FC||20||14||6||2||6||2|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||18||14||5||3||6||-2|
|San Antonio Scorpions||10||14||3||1||10||-9|
|San Antonio Scorpions||20||12||6||2||4||4|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||18||12||5||3||4||5|
|Minnesota United FC||14||12||4||2||6||-5|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||12||2||2||8||-14|