Both sides forced great saves from the respective keepers and had multiple chances to open the scoring. The crossbar was rattled twice in the match, once by a powerful header from Scorpions midfielder Edin Husic in the 64th minute, and another by an incredible strike by United forward Simone Bracalello in the 70th minute.
“We created chances but both teams are defending well,” Scorpions Head Coach Tim Hankinson said after the first half. “Our possession has to improve and both teams are both feeling each other out.”
Hankinson praised Patrick Hannigan, and jokingly lauded the crossbar, after the San Antonio keeper made a variety of fine saves over the course of the match.
“Patrick Hannigan had the broken leg last year and began the season as a starter until Daryl [Sattler] came in,” said Hankinson. He made some great saves, but really the MVP of the game is the crossbar for both teams.”
The Scorpions started the brighter of the two sides with new signing, Ivan Milicevic registering the first shot on goal of the match in the seventh minute. San Antonio continued to pressure Minnesota’s goal with Hans Denissen trying an ambitious chip but sending it just over the bar.
With little attack from Minnesota early on, the Scorpions continued to get themselves into attacking positions and earned a couple of free kicks in good positions; one of which resulted in a good save by Sattler after Walter Ramirez hit a low drive that sneaked through the wall.
Minnesota began to up their tempo and started to grab a foothold in the match, leading to a couple of chances in quick succession. United trio Bracalello, Ibarra and Barbara looked lively and were causing problems at the back for the Scorpions towards the end of the first half.
With the score 0-0 at halftime, Hankinson called for the Scorpions to hold more possession in the second half and although they managed to take care of the ball better, he still expected more.
“They didn’t [hold possession] to the standard that we expected them to get through the season successfully, but it was better than the first half,” said Hankinson.
The Scorpions defended well overall in the match, despite the unfamiliar pairing in the central of defense of Greg Janicki and Luka Vucko. With Janicki and Ryan Cochrane being so successful for the Scorpions last season, Hankinson was please with how the new pair started tonight.
“Ryan Cochrane was a very difficult player to replace with his experience,” said Hankinson. We had to search the world to find one that had the experience of Luka. At 6’6 he has the feet of a playmaker, so he’s a wonderful player to watch and he and Greg Janicki have really joined in getting to know each other in the preseason.”
The Scorpions will take their point earned into their home opener in brand new Toyota Field on Saturday April 13th vs. the Tampa Bay Rowdies.