The Scorpions opened up the scoring early when Javier Saavedra scored in the first minute of play off a rebound from a header by Esteban Bayona.
“Coming from a deep midfield position and finding himself in the six was a great achievement for someone who is 40 years old, but he can do that with his experience,” Scorpions Head Coach Tim Hankinson said about Saavedra’s goal.
San Antonio was able to create a number of scoring opportunities after Saavedra’s goal, but could not capitalize on the momentum gained from their early strike.
The Scorpions finally capitalized on all of their shots in the second half when Luka Vucko received a perfectly placed free kick from Saavedra and tapped it past Jeff Attinella, the Strikers’ goalie, in the 53rd minute.
Fort Lauderdale would answer back just two minutes later with a goal from Scott Gordon, who took advantage of a failed attempt by the Scorpions to clear a loose ball in the box. The defensive lapse gave Gordon an open shot and a subsequent goal from only five yards away.
But three minutes later in the 58th minute, the Scorpions would score again and put the game away for good. Edin Husic initiated the sequence with his cross from the left to Esteban Bayona. Bayona then forced Gordon to deflect the ball into the net when he tapped the cross, forcing the own goal, putting the Scorpions up 3-1.
The Scorpions’ had a chance to add one more goal to their lead when Walter Ramirez received a long pass in open field and crossed it, only to be broken up by a strong Strikers’ defensive stand.
The Strikers’ best opportunity to score in the second half came in the 79th minute when Mark Anderson’s hard shot was saved by a diving Vuolo.
The game was tense throughout, with minor altercations occurring towards the end of both halves. A yellow card on the Scorpions’ Pat Phelan in the 38th minute initiated a minor dispute between the two teams that was eventually broken up by the referees. But a more hostile feud that featured some shoving took place in the 88th minute. There were six yellow cards in the game, five of them given in the second half.
“We had to play catch up and just weren’t good enough in the night,” Strikers’ Head Coach Darryl Shore said. “They put us under pressure and we didn’t handle it well enough.”
Whereas the Strikers did not handle the pressure well enough, the Scorpions dealt with pressure well for the first time this season.
“It was a test game with players who put it on the line and it was time to finally select a group that might not be our most skillful or talented but their hearts were in it,” Hankinson said.
“We’re starting to learn a little bit more about ourselves.”