SAN ANTONIO, TX (Aug 19, 2012) - The first-place San Antonio Scorpions defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Rowdies in a 4-0 shutout to become the first team to clinch a playoff berth in the NASL this season.
The victory also extended San Antonio's first place lead with the Scorpions now holding a seven-point advantage over Tampa Bay and the Puerto Rico Islanders.
A crowd of 7,024 was on hand to watch the Scorpions defeat the Rowdies for the third time this season, giving San Antonio the season series over Tampa Bay.
"When you go against a team that is right behind you. It brings your game to a new level," Head Coach Tim Hankinson said. "I think it's very important that we stay motivated and collect points, You have to stay motivated and you can't relax."
The Scorpions jumped to an early lead in the 8th minute, when midfielder Walter Ramirez scored his second goal of the season after controlling an accurate pass from Josue Soto and blasting a left-footed shot past Tampa Bay keeper Jeff Attinella to give San Antonio a 1-0 lead.
Forward Pablo Campos, the NASL's top goal scorer, helped the Scorpions pick up an insurance goal in the 18th minute, beating Attinella in a one-on-one opportunity in the box for an easy goal.
The Scorpions persistently attacked the Tampa Bay defense and in the 28th minute, Attinella tripped up Campos in the box to set up a penalty kick. Campos knocked the ball into the upper left corner for the Scorpions' second goal of the night.
For Campos, the two goals scored brought his season tally to a 18 goals with six games remaining in the regular season.
Campos attempted to complete a hat trick when Kevin Harmse was brought down in the box in the 32nd minute to set up another penalty kick, but Attinella made the stop on the Campos attempt.
At halftime, the Scorpions had a three-goal lead over the Rowdies, marking the first time San Antonio scored three goals in the first half.
Scorpions keeper Daryl Sattler and backline kept the Rowdies off the scoreboard for the rest of the match, giving Sattler his 12th of the season. Sattler has not allowed a single goal at Heroes Stadium in NASL competition.
In the closing minutes of stoppage time, forward Bayona collected a great pass from Denissen and sprinted towards goal, firing a shot past Attinela to end the match.
The stoppage time goal was the sixth of the season for Bayona, who is second on the team in goals scored.