The San Antonio Scorpions got their first road win of 2013 as they managed a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday to keep their slim hopes alive.
The Scorpions break did little to help their wounds as they were forced to play in Tampa without Pat Hannigan, Bryan Jordan and Walter Ramirez who were all injured for the crucial match.
The Scorpions started well, knowing that their season was on the line but were still largely restricted to shots from distance or set pieces against a resolute Tampa Bay defense.
At the quarter hour mark Estaban Bayona was found with a solid cross but again failed with his head as he sent the ball wide of the mark.
The Rowdies settled well after that initial onslaught and were denied in the 24th minute after a shot from Luke Mulholland was too easy for Jeremy Vuolo to get to.
A set piece provided the Scorpions with a solid chance in the 31st minute as a free kick fell to Pat Phelan who was denied by an impressive Diego Restrepo save.
As the half wound down one of football’s rare moments occurred with the referee awarding an indirect free-kick in the box after Luke Mulholland was adjudged to have passed the ball back to keeper Restrepo using his foot allowing the Scorpions an indirect chance from six yards out.
With the entire Tampa Bay team behind the goal line Luka Vucko provided the necessary touch on the ball before Blake Wagner slammed the ball through the onrushing wall to continue his good form and give the Scorpions a half-time lead.
Tampa Bay came out from the match knowing that they needed a win as much as San Antonio and dominated most of the half.
In the 59th minute went agonizingly close to finding an equalizer as Georgi Hristov hit a curling strike that went just past the post.
The Scorpions were restricted to sitting back and Tampa got their equalizer in the 80th minute after an entire half of domination when Carl Cort was able to head home.
With the Rowdies looking desperately for a win there was space for the Scorpions to exploit and they nearly found a winner of their own in the 87th minute as Eriq Zavaleta, on loan from Seattle Sounders, should have done better with his chance, getting through one on one with Restrepo but was unable to beat the keeper.
With so much space around the field a winner was bound to come to someone and as the match headed to stoppage time some superb play from substitutes Edin Husic and Hans Denissen saw the Dutchman able to score a vital winner with the two men really asking the question as to why they were yet again left out of the starting 11.
For the Scorpions it’s the first time they’ve won two consecutive games all season but for both teams their seasons will end on Sunday if Carolina beats Edmonton which will leave the NASL Spring season as a three horse race.
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