Goals by defender Greg Janicki and midfielder Shaun Saiko gave the visiting San Antonio Scorpions a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks in front of a sold out crowd of 5,000 at Silverbacks Park on Saturday evening.
“Obviously it is great feeling to get this result,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina, on the team’s first win of the 2014 NASL Spring Season. “I felt our guys played well and the guys should put some more away but all credit to them and they played the full 90 minutes and got the result.”
The matchup started slowly, with neither side doing much to threaten the other’s goal. The Scorpions were the first ones to get on the score sheet, with Janicki heading in a well-placed free kick from Barrera in the 34th minute. Ati came out for the cross, but was unable to catch it before Janicki headed it goalward.
The Scorpions came out of the locker room after halftime with strong intent, and didn’t waste any time doubling their lead. Saiko, who was a halftime substitute, fired a shot off the under side of the crossbar and in within one minute of entering the field. The former FC Edmonton midfielder’s finish was first-class, leaving goalkeeper Eric Ati with no chance to prevent the 2-0 score line.
Following Saiko’s goal, the Silverbacks picked up the pace – a pace they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game. Substitute forward Jaime Chavez, who replaced forward Deon McCaulay, was the first to answer the bell, heading a cross inches wide of the post within a minute of Saiko’s goal.
In the 83rd minute, the Silverbacks finally found the net. Sandoval headed in a beautiful set piece from midfielder Junior Burgos, setting up a nervy finish for the visitors. The goal ignited the sellout crowd, giving the team momentum going into the final 10 minutes.
Chavez was in the center of things again in the 89th minute, coming inches away from tying things up after his flicked effort fell just wide. The Silverbacks had one more scoring chance in them in stoppage time, with defender Edgar Espinoza seeing his half-volley cleared off the goal line by a Scorpions defender.