Shakedown: the season for the Scorpions so far

Photo provided courtesy of SA Scorpions FC

The young NASL season has brought various milestones and firsts for the newest pro soccer franchise.  With so much media scrutiny surrounding their maiden voyage, a proper shakedown was in order.

Four games in, and the Scorpions have managed to claw their way to fifth place with 5 points and a -3 goal differential.  With a 1-2-1 record, the season so far could be seen as a baptism of fire. Continue reading

adidas is all in 3D

Video

Here’s the description of the video:

“Clin d’œil à l’histoire de la ville et du club, le nouveau maillot de l’OL 2012/2013 vous réserve une première mondiale!”

What …. you don’t speak French?

Ok, Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) has a new third jersey from adidas, and the primary design can be seen in 3D.  That’s right, as in you can only see the 3D effect if you are wearing a pair of 3D glasses.

So the next time you sit down to watch Avatar in 3D, make sure you’re wearing your Lyon alternate jersey.

I wonder if when you buy the jersey, whether you also get a free pair of glasses wrapped in plastic?  This will be the only way you can truly experience the $80 you just blew.  If the glasses aren’t included, can you really say adidas has thought of everything.  hmmm?

I can’t wait to see the fans in the crowd dawning their glasses, smoking their American cigarettes and contemplating objective reality as they watch their 3D footballers appear to be right in front of them.

Lyon players wearing the official adidas 3D glasses

Those hipsters have it all figured out!

Scorpions down Railhawks 1-0, earn first win

Stephanie Tan

The SA Scorpions FC visited the Carolina Triangle Saturday night to take on the Carolina Railhawks for week four in the NASL regular season.  The Scorpions were coming off a hard fought tie against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio, TX and were looking to secure their first three points in franchise history.

Carolina on the other hand, were looking for their first win of the season and three points at home against the new boys.

Early on, however, it was clear the visitors were looking to be more offensive and dominated much of the ball with slick passing and strong possession play.

This led to an early chance in the eighth minute when Blake Wagner found Pablo Campos free in the box for a one on one with Carolina goalie, Ray Burse.  Burse did just enough to cause Campos to alter his trajectory and dribble the ball wide.

The first ten minutes saw much of the same with strong play from San Antonio and more missed chances.

Carolina did all they could to absorb constant pressure by playing more direct up the park which allowed them to go on a bit of an offensive spell which culminated in a goal (15’).  Carolina’s score sheet would stay empty as the goal was called back due to an offside call.

The Railhawks could do nothing more than chase the ball around as the Scorpions continued to provide service to Campos and isolating wide players.  Walter Ramirez and Josue Soto had some quick individual play which led to some dangerous crosses but the Scorpions continued their woeful form in front of goal and the first half ended in a draw.

The second half saw both teams scrapping for equal chances in front of goal.  The Railhawks had more offensive chances play out in the second half as they continue to put up a fight against the visitors.

Needing to create some offense, Coach Hankinson decided to change some pieces around and subbed Esteban Bayona for Soto.  Bayona immediately moved directly behind Campos up front, and Hans Dennison moved out wide.

This created opportunities for Bayona to threaten the Carolina defense through the middle and allow Dennison and Ramirez to work both flanks while Bayona and Campos wreaked havoc on the Carolina back line.

Then in the 81st minute, Scorpions captain Kevin Harmse linked up with Bayona with some neat passing through the center of the Carolina defense and a breakaway found Harmse alone in the box and skillfully beat Burse to the left for the game’s only goal.

As the Scorpions secure their first three points of the season, the away win sees SA move up to fifth and look to continue their run of form against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Heroes Stadium on Saturday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Carolina move down to seventh place and look to regroup next week against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Wakemed Park on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Line ups:

SA Scorpions FC – Sattler, Harmse, Campos, Denissen, Kling, Pitchkolan, Wagner, Soto (Bayona 61’), Cochrane, Ramirez, Greenfield (Gold 71’)

Carolina Railhawks – Burse, Shields (Elenio 25’), Low, Lowery, Nurse, Garey, Palacio (Shipalane 41’), King (Ortiz 73’), Shriver, Zimmerman, Krause

Champions League: Spanish woes, London pride, Munich destiny

The European Champions League Semi final stage has come to pass with Chelsea and Bayern Munich moving into the final with two very impressive and dramatic matches this week.

Barcelona were stunned by Chelsea at the Nou Camp in what has to be one of the most improbable performances ever seen on the European stage.  Only to be perfectly complimented by the following match with Bayern Munich’s penalty kick antics sending Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid into the silent night with a soft whimper.

Needless to say, the story lines in this year’s competition were too compelling for me not to offer some commentary and analysis. Continue reading

Bayona: ‘I was battling to get to the next level’

photo courtesy of SA Scorpions FC

The SA Scorpions FC finish their first three games winless and with two points in their preliminary voyage into professional soccer in America.  Although still waiting for the first positive result on the score sheet, one positive that can be drawn from their tie against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, was the play from UIW standout, Esteban Bayona.

Bayona, was born in Columbia but raised in America and played for the University of the Incarnate Word for two seasons.  In that time he scored 16 goals and had 6 assists and is ranked 38th all time in program history.

Bayona credits his hard work ethic from his time at UIW but started playing for the Laredo Heat before he actually graduated, as he was no longer eligible to play at the collegiate level.

“I was with them (Laredo Heat) for three years, it was a great experience and I enjoyed playing there.  I did really well there and I was battling to get to the next level,” said Bayona.

Bayona, continued to play for the Laredo Heat and in 2011 finished in the top 3 scorers in the USL-PDL.  During the preseason, he was contacted by the Scorpions front office, “I played against coach Hankinson when he was with Fort Lewis, and he remembered me as a player and we got in contact through mutual acquaintances,” said Bayona.

There is no doubt, that Bayon’s time at UIW gave him an opportunity to be exposed to a wider soccer market.  At times, soccer players who are hoping to make it as a professional player, need to advertise themselves in order to be seen by clubs, and the collegiate game is a great vehicle for that.

On the opportunity for local players at university to be scouted Bayona stated, “I think this is a great opportunity for players at UIW, Trinity, etc. and the schools around here to get a fair look, and I think having a pro soccer team is a great chance for them.”

“In the past there were players that I played with and against that had a great chance to play professionally, but no one really recognizes Incarnate Word or Trinity so it’s tough to get noticed unless you know someone.

Perhaps the same can be said about San Antonio soccer in general.  The trend in the MLS is to promote and sign the ‘homegrown’ player, but this can’t occur without a professional team present in the community.

The other trend you see occurring in America is a change in style of play, where traditionally the favored European type direct play was favored versus the possession based Latin style.  With the Scorpions the style is a mixture of the two and this plays to Bayona’s Strengths.

“I like to play both.  With Laredo I had to play a possession based offense where we were really patient until we made the right pass, but with the Scorpions we are trying to keep possession of the ball but we want to involve our strikers but just be patient.  It is a good mix of the European style of play with a Latin touch.”

The Scorpions have a nice collection of talent but are quickly learning that throwing talent together doesn’t necessarily guarantee wins.  If the last result is an improvement, it may have a lot to do with the energy a player like Bayona can bring to the team.  More importantly, the Scorpions as a team and Bayona as a player will have to continue to battle if they want to get to the next level.

U-20s finish April camp, Ramos begins selection for World Cup 2013

courtesy, US Soccer

As featured on USFutblog.com

Tab Ramos and the U-20 MNT close camp in Portland, Ore. with a win against the University of Washington on a single goal from US midfielder, Victor Pineda, in the 89th minute.  The three day camp from April 9-16, included a match against University of Portland and consisted of a mix of professional and collegiate players.

The evaluation process will continue for Ramos, as the U-20s look to begin a South American trip later in May which will include three matches.  The four camps under Ramos’ leadership have greatly acted as a process through which players and coaches familiarized themselves to the new set up.  But mainly, for Ramos and his staff to evaluate the diverse talent pool available for selection.

Some notable names absent at the April camp were Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Villyan Bijev (Liverpool FC), William Packwood (Birmingham City), Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin) and Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town) due to club commitments.

Although the players missing from the April camp are most likely going to figure into Ramos’ plans for the future, an effort was made to begin the process to narrow down the talent pool toward 2013.  Additionally, 8 players from the April camp play professionally and 10 players are in college, while 6 players are currently involved with an Academy club.

“We’ve had three camps this year and taken advantage of the opportunity to cast a wide net in evaluating the player pool,” said Ramos. “This is the last time we plan on calling in a large number of new players. From here on out, we’re really going to really focus in the players we have identified who we think will be competing for spots on this team moving forward.”

CONCACAF qualifying for the tournament will likely begin in early 2013 and will be held in Puebla, Mexico.  The dates will run from February 18th – March 2nd at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc and the Estadio Universitario Lobos BUAP.

The tournament will qualify four teams for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey 2013.

The representation for player selection to each of the camps may give us an indication of what the US U-20 MNT roster will look like during the 2013 World Cup.  As with the U-23 team, it would appear that players who are involved in a professional setting will be given preference.

However, given the disappointment by the U-23s, Ramos may be more inclined to choose a player performing at the highest level rather than an out of form professional player.  It is clear that players who play professionally, will need to see playing time with their clubs.

This line of thinking adds nothing to the ‘Pro vs. College’ argument, but simply emphasizes that if you are going to play at the next level, you need to perform and earn playing time.  Perhaps sitting on the bench will no longer be rewarded.

San Antonio Scorpions Score Historic First-Ever Goal, Draw with Fort Lauderdale Strikers

In their second home game of the 2012 season, the San Antonio Scorpions FC tied 2-2  with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday night  at Heroes Stadium. The pair of goals for the Scorpions came from Pablo Campos and Hans Dennison to open San Antonio’s account for the season.

In front of a good crowd of 10,114, the home side looked to address the poor showing from a 4-0 home opening loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders the week before.

Coach Hankinson made some changes to the line up and incorporated their newest signing, former FC Dallas defender Aaron Pitchkolan, into the back four to play alongside Ryan Cochrane in the center and Blake Wagner at left back. San Antonio native Matt Gold got his first start of the season in the right back position, which saw Wes Knight move forward in a more advanced position in the right midfield.

Pablo Campos and Hans Denissen both started up front and the midfield was rounded out by Kevin Harmse, Jonathan Greenfield and Walter Ramirez.

FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK ON THE LINK TO VISIT IMSoccer News

Press Release: Scorpions add central defender with MLS experience

San Jose vs. Seattle, 2009

The San Antonio Scorpions have signed 29-year-old defender, Aaron Pitchkolan, for the 2012 North American Soccer League (NASL) season.

Pitchkolan joins the Scorpions after spending the 2011 season with the Puerto Rico Islanders of the NASL.

The Colorado native has also featured with Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes. While at FC Dallas he made 68 appearances from 2005 to 2009.

“He’s very versatile. He can play either the center midfield or the center back position,” head coach Tim Hankinson said. “That gives us the ability to rotate and keep those positions at a high quality level.”

Hankinson believes the addition of Pitchkolan will be instrumental for the Scorpions the rest of the season and will have an immediate impact on the squad.

“He’s got experience, he communicates well and we need that right now,” Hankinson said.

During his collegiate career he helped the University of Tampa win the NCAA Division II national championship in 2001 before transferring to West Virginia University. At West Virginia he was named to the NSCAA All-South Atlantic team in 2004.

Pitchkolan will be available for team selection as the Scorpions host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Whether this had been in the works or not can be debated, but I will say that a presence through the middle of the park was definitely needed after the back line was a little exposed against the Islanders high impact attack.
  • I have a suspicion that he will slot Pitchkolan in the midfield right behind Harmse but the versatility of the player may allow Cochrane or Greenfield to occupy time in the middle as well.
  • This gives coach Hankinson options with either the two center backs or the defensive midfield position.  Needless to say, he now has three very similar players at his disposal.

Nike unveils US Men’s and Women’s National Team jersey

courtesy US Soccer

The US and Nike announced today the official unveiling of the jersey to feature for both the Men’s and Women’s national teams.  The American flag is utilized as the jersey’s inspiration, with a shirt that features horizontal red and white stripes and a blue crew neck collar.

The jersey will also feature a subtle tonal sash echoing the same design on the jerseys worn by the US during the famous victory against England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

For the first time, Nike has taken a unified approach with the USA’s home kits, creating jerseys that feature the same design and concept for both teams.

So basically the current kit the US Men wear but with loud red stripes surrounding the body, in essence, creating the famed hoop design.  If you’re scratching your head in confusion, I don’t blame you.  I didn’t think there was too much wrong with the current jersey to begin with and now they are tinkering with the general design.

Is this simply a ploy to get you to buy more jerseys by Nike?  The US has had some awful jerseys in the past, I need only reference the 1994 jersey.

The U.S. Men will debut the new kit when they face Scotland on May 26 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The U.S. Women will sport the new look for the first time against China on May 27 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

What do you think, should we just leave the jersey alone?  Do you like the new design?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

San Antonio Scorpions NASL Debut A Victory with 13,000 in Stands; On the Field a Big Disappointment

photo courtesy of SA Scorpions FC

In front of a sold out stadium of 13,000 plus hometown fans, the SA Scorpions FC faced off against the Puerto Rico Islanders in their first home opener in franchise history.  The festivities included tailgating parties starting at least three hours prior to kick-off with the three official supporters groups of the Scorpions leading the march toward Heros Stadium just before kick-off.

It was an unbelievable crowd on an unbelievable day for soccer in America, and the fans were ready to see their highly anticipated hometown product.

Soon after the game kicked off it was clear that the veteran Islanders had their season in mind and had every intention to continue what they started in the previous campaign.  The moment for the home team quickly turned against them as they let in the first goal of the night after only seven minutes of play.

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