The Scorpions traveled to Canada Saturday to take on FC Edmonton ahead of their US Open Cup match against the Houston Dynamo Tuesday night.
Head coach, Tim Hankinson gave the nod to a few bench players reserving his regular starters for the US Open Cup match. Matt gold and Josue Soto started in midfield and Esteban Bayona up front. Euan Purcell received the start on the left flank but was almost immediately subbed most likely due to injury. Jonathan Greenfield slotted into left back with Craig Janicki inserted into the center defense.
Early on the match was back and forth with the Eddies sharing more of the chances in front of goal. The midfield became very congested with five across and one striker left forward. The play began to resemble a very defensive strategy from San Antonio who were sagging back with five in the defense at times and rarely moving past the center circle.
As the Scorps sat back, Edmonton were obliged to go forward and eventually scored a goal in the 37th minute when Shaun Saiko collected the ball in a deep position on the left flank and sent the ball into the box to an oncoming Yashir Pinto who glanced the ball into the right corner.
At halftime some changes were made by Hankinson, Greenfield was drafted into the midfield and Matt Gold was dropped to right back. The Scorpions began to press but Edmonton wasn’t going to let their home field advantage go to waste as Shaun Saiko scored a goal in the 54th minute.
Eventually, Denissen was brought in to replace Nunes up front and Pablo Campos was brought in as the game began to slip away from the Scorpions. The Scorpions have proven to be most dangerous with Campos, Denissen and Bayona all on the field at the same time.
As the run of play shifted, San Antonio pulled one back when Ramirez broke free on the left flank and centered to Josue Soto, who collected the ball right above the eighteen yard box and expertly finished with a left footed shot through oncoming pressure.
More pressure from the Scorpions lead to a free kick on the right flank and Denissen sent the ball in and Aaron Pitchkolan finished on a clinical header equalizing for the bexar county club in the 83rd minute.
The run of play was in favor of the Scorpions during the last ten minutes and Edmonton looked very much the way San Antonio looked to begin the game. But in the end, Edmonton couldn’t do enough to prevent San Antonio from coming away with a point with the match ending 2-2.
“We played more aggressively and played with a greater determination we forced the game on the opponent and I thought we did a better job in the second half. Our possession picked up and we had to take some risks when the second goal went in against us and we switched our system to more of a 4-3-3,” said Tim Hankinson.