After a first half that saw a plethora of goals scored, the second half was dominated by defense, yellow cards and missed opportunities.
“Hans Denisson had a great goal,” Scorpions’ head coach Tim Hankinson said at the conclusion of the first half. “And the way Husic took his, its great to see our offense come to light, but we’ve got to be more responsible defensively.”
The Scorpions, and also the Silverbacks, definitely took the coaches’ advice in the second half, as both teams held their respective opponents scoreless.
The first half, unlike the second half, saw both teams take advantage of their scoring opportunities.
Atlanta got on the board first when midfielder Richie Menjivar received a nice touch pass and sent it past Hannigan in only the 5th minute of play.
The Scorpions would respond though, and score their first goal of the season in the 20th minute. Forward Hans Dennissen connected from a perfectly placed cross from an injured Javier Saavedra, ending the Scorpions’ scoring drought.
Saavedra was then immediately taken out of the game after his assist, to be replaced by Pat Phelan.
Only eight minutes later, Scorpions’ Midfielder Walter Ramirez’s creativity with the ball led to another goal for San Antonio. Denissen received Ramirez’s cross and sent a touch pass to Edin Husic, who then turned around and sent a powerful shot into the goal from about 18 yards out.
Atlanta did not let the Scorpions bask in the glory of their lead for long, as the Silverbacks scored in the 30th minute, just two minutes after the Scorpions did. San Antonio clearly had a defensive lapse here when Pedro Mendez dribbled through the entire Scorpions back line and placed a powerful shot deep into the net.
The Scorpions’ defensive lapse was not the only one in the game. Their porous defense might be a result of starting defender Greg Janicki’s injury, leaving an obvious whole in the defense.
But the Silverbacks could not capitalize on any of these chances in the second half, just as the Scorpions could not take advantage of their best opportunity to break the draw in the 80th minute. The Scorpions’ Kevin Harmse dribbled through the defense and blasted a shot that deflected off the Silverbacks’ goalkeeper. Blake Wagner then received the rebound and shot just barely wide towards the opposite post.
Atlanta had another chance to score in the last minute of stoppage time, but Scorpions’ goalkeeper Pat Hannigan blocked a break-away opportunity that Atlanta could have easily buried in the back of the net
“We came in to a tough place to play and had to fight hard to get a point today,” Silverbacks’ head coach Brian Haynes said. “My goal is to bring in new players and I can’t fault their heart and I’m very proud of the boys tonight.”
Coach Hankinson had an equally optimistic outlook on the game, especially because his Scorpions scored for the first time this season.
“Both teams have contrasting styles and brought great football tonight,” coach Hankinson said. “If you’re a fan here tonight you got more than your money’s worth. “We need to build on the confidence of scoring goals and make sure that becomes commonplace.”