Matt Gold and First Year San Antonio Scorpions Ready to Take on MLS Side Dynamo in Open Cup
After a strong second half and playing a man down for most of the match, the SA Scorpions FC earned their way into the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with a 2-0 win over the Laredo Heat. The club secured passage to advance in the historic tournament and also retained the right to host MLS side the Houston Dynamo.
Many players on the Scorpions roster have US Open Cup and Major League Soccer experience, but for Matt Gold, who spent time living in San Antonio as a youth player, it won’t be his first experience with either a cup environment or against MLS quality talent.
“Last year with TFC (Toronto Football Club) I participated in the Canadian Cup and was also involved with the CONCACAF tournament but this was my first experience with the NASL and US Open Cup.”
Gold, a 43rd pick in the MLS SuperDraft, was involved during the second leg of the semi-final and the first leg of the final for Toronto. He was inserted into the lineup by TFC manager Aron Winter during the latter stages of each match.
He also made his debut in MLS against the Seattle Sounders making two more appearances in league competition and one more appearance during the CONCACAF Champions League. His collegiate career was spent at Ohio State and he also played with the old Austin Aztex U23 PDL side.
Still in his early 20s, Gold believes his ambition relies on his ability to play numerous roles for his team.
“I think it’s important for me to be versatile, to be able to come in and fill gaps where needed between the two midfield spots and the two outside back positions. So far, I’ve played left back, right back and a holding midfield position throughout the season.”
The Scorpions midfielder admitted he’s mostly right footed, so when he was asked to play left back he needed to adjust a bit, “it’s good to get experiences in different places but obviously that was my first time at left back (this season) so it took a minute to get the cobwebs out of the left foot.”
You can argue that the rest of the squad was also struggling to adjust to the midweek match but for Gold, it had a different overtone. The match against Laredo was played on the all grass field at Blossom Athletic Center. Matt grew up close by, and remembers the field and playing in front of family and friends fondly.
“Growing up I wished I had played here (Blossom) but I never did because I didn’t go to a public school so I wasn’t in this district, but I’d always try to come in and kick the ball around because it was such a beautiful field.”
“It’s a huge blessing to play in San Antonio. Last year I was in Canada and it felt like I was on the other side of the world. It’s the total opposite down here coming back home and being around family and friends. It’s quite a blessing, even better than I would have anticipated.”
Forgiving Matt for jumping the fence at Blossom to kick a ball around is easy. The venue has a mystique that most players never forget and many San Antonio youth have done the same whether allowed to or not. For Gold, that night was about more than just kicking a ball around. It was about his hopes and dreams.
With a win this Tuesday against the Houston Dynamo, Gold and his San Antonio Scorpions have a chance to move into the fourth round of the USOC and potentially face fellow Texas MLS club, FC Dallas.
Dallas will be hosting USL-PRO side, the Charlotte Eagles, that same night. If the Scorpions advance, they will play the winner on June 5th at Heroes Stadium.