San Antonio Scorpions NASL Debut A Victory with 13,000 in Stands; On the Field a Big Disappointment
The Puerto Rico Islanders defeated the San Antonio Scorpions 4-0 in inaugural NASL home match.
In front of a sold out stadium of 13,000 plus hometown fans, the SA Scorpions FC faced off against the Puerto Rico Islanders in their first home opener in franchise history. The festivities included tailgating parties starting at least three hours prior to kick-off with the three official supporters groups of the Scorpions leading the march toward Heroes Stadium just before kick-off.
It was an unbelievable crowd on an unbelievable day for soccer in America, and the fans were ready to see their highly anticipated hometown product.
Soon after the game kicked off it was clear that the veteran Islanders had their season in mind and had every intention to continue what they started in the previous campaign. The moment for the home team quickly turned against them as they let in the first goal of the night after only seven minutes of play.
David Foley was released from the midfield and beat the oncoming pressure as the defense collapsed on Foley while he slotted a nifty little pass across the six to an oncoming Jonathan Fana, who finished neatly from point blank range.
As the Islanders continued to press, the home team looked to counter attack in an effort to cool off the hot visiting team and managed to put together some decent passes. About four minutes later, Hans Denissen was fouled in the Islanders box and the Scorpions were thrown a lifeline.
However, what momentum could have been gained with an early goal in front of the sold-out crowd was squandered as the shooter powered the ball into the top bar leaving the Islanders in the lead.
Meanwhile, Foley, having early success on the left side, was rewarded from an individual piece of work leading to an unassisted goal just before the twenty-minute mark.
In the second half, it was more of the same including a second missed penalty, as the Scorpions never looked to be threatening and two more goals from Nicholas Addlery (55’) and another from Jonathan Fana (72’) saw the Islanders return home victorious 4-0.
It was clear from the beginning that the Islanders were not content to allow San Antonio a minute to organize defensively and looked to capitalize on shaky play from the left side and through the center of the park.
The offensive pieces for San Antonio never got into a rhythm and overall lacked creativity in the final third. Very few adjustments were made as the game progressed and weaknesses throughout the Scorpions squad were continually exploited.
The score wasn’t totally representative of the performance from the Scorpions. The Islanders’ keeper Richard Martin was responsible for seven saves throughout the match as the Scorpions had twelve shots in comparison to six shots from the visitors. Unfortunately, four of the six shots for the Islanders ended up in the Scorpions’ net.
“The boys were fantastic this evening. Every single player did their part and the support from the Islanders fans here and in Puerto Rico has been awesome. Preparation for next match against FC Edmonton starts now,” said Islanders head coach Adrian Whitbread.
San Antonio coach Tim Hankinson was evidently so upset with the result that he did not allow media to conduct interviews after the match. Please see comment by editor (bq) below dated 4-17
While the Scorpions organization won big off the pitch, their performance on the pitch may come under extra scrutiny if the results continue to be as lopsided as the score was for this match.
The Scorpions will look to regroup as they have a short week when they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers next Saturday, April 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Islanders have a quick turnaround as the face winless FC Edmonton on Wednesday evening at Bayamon Soccer Complex.