BLAINE, MN (August 11, 2012) - The San Antonio Scorpions concluded their two-game road trip on a high note with a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Stars FC to gain ground in the race for the top spot in the NASL standings.
Hans Denissen converted a second half penalty kick for his third goal of the season to help lift the Scorpions to an important victory over the Stars.
The Scorpions now have a four-point edge over the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies as San Antonio remains at the top of the NASL table.
"They had the better of the chances, but sometimes the game comes down to one break," Scorpions Head Coach Tim Hankinson said. "We were able to maintain the lead and three points feels pretty good right now. Our possession picked up in the second half and we continued to stay in the fight."
The Scorpions struggled with possession for much of the first half, but the Scorpions defense and goalkeeper Daryl Sattler were able to help keep Minnesota at bay during the opening stanza.
Scorpions defender Blake Wagner made a nice run to the top of the box after beating Stars defenders, but his shot skidded away from the net to end the opportunity.
Stars forward Simone Bracalello took a free kick from just outside the box in the 25th minute, but his shot went wide of the far post to keep the game scoreless.
In the 40th minute, Stars midfielder Miguel Ibarra had a one-on-one chance against Sattler after receiving a pass in the right side of the box. He delivered a shot past a diving Sattler, but it went wide of the post.
The best opportunity of the half for the Stars came two minutes later of a counter attack. Minnesota had a three-on-two opportunity and Miguel Ibarra fired a shot on goal, but Sattler made a smothering stop to keep the match scoreless.
The Stars thought they grabbed the lead in the 48th minute. Martin Nunez, who had been quiet in the first half, beat Sattler to a through ball and played a ball back across goal for Justin Davis to tap in, but after consultation with the assistant referee, the goal was waved off for offside. The linesman denied the Stars again in the 55th minute as Nunez rose to head home Cristiano Dias’ cross.
The Scorpions began to find a rhythm in middle stages of the second half, and their efforts paid off when forward Pablo Campos was taken down in the box from behind in the 70th minute, which set up a penalty kick attempt for midfielder Hans Denissen.
Denissen calmly converted the penalty kick in the 71st minute past Stars keeper Matt Van Oekel to give the Scorpions a 1-0 lead.
Kevin Venegas replaced Lucas Rodriguez, Amani Walker came on for Bracalello and Devin Del Do replaced Davis as the Stars looked to match the energy of the supporters’ section and 3,221 other fans inside NSC Stadium and find an equalizing goal. Hlavaty had a penalty shout denied in stoppage time, and San Antonio melted the remaining time away for their 11th victory of the season.
“I think we’re playing really solid soccer right now, except for the finishing and putting teams away. It’s frustrating that the team didn’t get the result, but in the end, we’ve got to get through it, get better,” Stars head coach Manny Lagos said.
The Scorpions victory gave Daryl Sattler his 11th shutout of the season with a six-save performance. San Antonio's lead in the NASL Standings was extended to four points by virtue of other results tonight.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|