It was yet another stoppage time defeat for the San Antonio Scorpions as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against Minnesota United in an entertaining and fierce encounter at Toyota Field on Saturday night.
For the Scorpions it was much too much of the same as they lost Jeff Jennings to a red card in the second half and yet again conceded the winning goal in stoppage time.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Alen Marcina after his first match as a coach. “After going down a man they fought hard.”
Pat Phelan was disappointed after the match, “We obviously have a lot of stuff to fix, there were a lot of things that Alen wants to implement but couldn’t in three days. But now there’s no pressure on us, 0-5, every team is expected to beat us now.”
The Scorpions had a solid chance in the fourth minute as Tomasz Zahorski found Hans Denissen who in turn found Lyle Martin in space, allowing him to cross but Minnesota got a block on the cross and managed to eventually clear under pressure.
Former Scorpion Pablo Campos tried to win a penalty after Pat Phelan stole possession away but the referee had none of it, much to the delight of the Crocketteers who were giving him plenty of stick all night.
Yet again for Minnesota a set-piece proved the undoing as they half-cleared the corner allowing to fall for Walter Ramirez who hit an incredible chip to the upper right corner leaving Matt Van Oekel with no chance.
Marcina was pleased with Ramirez after the match “Ramirez is a top player for this league, when he’s motivated, he’s fantastic… and he did everything I asked.”
Minnesota very nearly equalized in the 31st minute as a corner found Connor Tobin whose header looked destined for the net only to be cleared by Jeff Jennings preserving the lead.
Pablo Campos looked to silence the jeering in the 34th minute as he snuck around his defender to sneak home after the ball was passed accidently in to his path allowing him to score and run over to shush the Crocketteers.
“I think he (Campos) invites that on the field, doing little gestures like that…” said Pat Phelan after the match. “I have no respect for him as a player, well I shouldn’t say that… as a person, I think he has a lot of work to do but he’s not on my team and I’m glad for that. Our results aren’t as good as last year but I think the locker-room is better.”
Tempers flared in the 41st minute as Lyle Martin was held back by Miguel Ibarra and then lashed out with an elbow spark a fracas with several players running in with neither earning a yellow card, luckily for both players with Martin very lucky not to earn a red for the elbow.
Pablo Campos made it two in the 50th minute as a poor ball from Luka Vucko gave him possession and he used his strength to hold off his man and then nutmegged Hannigan to give his side the lead.
The Scorpions job got even harder as Jeff Jennings was shown a straight red card for a physical challenge on Cristiano Dias that had him writhing in pain.
The Scorpions were awarded a penalty for a handball in the 63rd minute but after consulting his assistant the referee changed his mind and awarded a drop ball which he would not allow Hans Denissen to contest despite it being his right in the laws of the game.
“For us, I thought it was a penalty,” said Marcina after the match. “But I guess the linesman saw something and said something, we’ll have to look at the tape.”
Alen Marcina made plenty of attacking changes which lead to the Scorpions controlling possessions in the final 20 minutes.
In the 78th minute the Scorpions got back on level terms as Zahorski found space and shot powerfully from 20 yards as the Scorpions had their second impressive goal of the night.
Minnesota nearly stole all three points as Mike Ambersley was able to steal space and set up Pablo Campos who was able to send the shot away but wide of the post with just two minutes to play.
In stoppage time the Scorpions defense chose to play the ball out only to give away possession, Hannigan was able to get a hand to the shot but it bounced back off of Connor Tobin to win the game for Minnesota.
For Marcina it was a bitter blow after his adventurous tactics did not get the reward he’d have hoped for, “the goal was to attack from the get go,” said Marcina, “and to do that you have to take risks and some gambles, unfortunately we couldn’t get out there with a point.”
After the match tempers flared as Pablo Campos went over to Kevin Harmse which initiated an emptying of all the benches after the full time whistle as the rivalry continued to grow.
That fight continued in to the tunnel as both teams anger flared up but it seemed few people understood what went on, with more news sure to come out in the aftermath.
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