SAN ANTONIO, TX (October 5, 2012) – The playoffs begin tomorrow for the San Antonio Scorpions as they take on the defending NASL-champion Minnesota Stars FC in the first leg of the NASL Semifinals on Saturday, Oct. 6. Kickoff at NSC Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.
The regular-season champion Scorpions were idle last weekend with a playoff bye while the No. 6 seed Minnesota Stars upset the Puerto Rico Islanders 2-1 on the road in the NASL Quarterfinals.
Saturday’s match will be the first playoff match in franchise history for the San Antonio Scorpions.
The NASL Semifinals is a two-game series, with each team playing a game at home and away. The team with the most goals at the end of both games advances to the NASL Championship Series.
The Stars entered the NASL playoffs this year the same way they did in 2011 during the NASL championship run: as the sixth and final seed to qualify for the playoffs. They begin this series at home, where the Stars are 1W-3T-1L in their last five home matches.
Offensively, Minnesota scored 34 goals during the regular season, tied for fifth in the NASL, with seven of those goals being scored during the final five matches of the regular season.
Amani Walker leads the Stars offense with a team-high seven goals this season and five assists. Martin Nunez and Simone Bracalello add five goals each, respectively.
The Stars have allowed 33 goals this season, thanks in large part to a possession-oriented approach.
Matt Van Oekel has been the Stars goalkeeper for most of the regular season, recording 77 saves while maintaining a 1.20 goals against average. He had seven saves in Minnesota’s victory over the Islanders on Sept. 30.
LAST TIME OUT
In the last match on Sept. 23, the Scorpions battled to a 1-1 draw against the Stars at Heroes Stadium as the team celebrated its first regular season championship.
The Scorpions struck first in the 9th minute, when a pass by defender Ryan Cochrane to Campos into the box allowed the Brazilian striker to knock in a shot past Stars goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, giving San Antonio the lead.
But the Stars would score the equalizer in the 69th minute when a number of Minnesota players crashed the net and defender Kevin Friedland was there to tip the ball past Sattler into the back of the net to even the match at 1-1.
The Scorpions and Stars traded chances over the final 20 minutes of play, but neither squad was able to break the stalemate.
The Scorpions and Stars fought to a scoreless draw in San Antonio on June 2 before the Scorpions picked up a 1-0 victory against the Stars in Minnesota on Aug. 11.
Both teams met twice in September, first in a 1-1 draw in Minnesota on Sept 1 and then again in the final match of the regular season on Sept. 23 in San Antonio, also a 1-1 draw.
HIT THE ROAD
The Scorpions have been one of the more successful teams on the road this season, garnering more points away from home than any team in the league this season.
San Antonio came away with at least a tie in 10 of 14 road matches this season, earning a 5W-5T-4L road record in their inaugural regular season.
In two road matches against Minnesota, the Scorpions picked up a win and a draw.
CAMPOS, SATTLER STRIKE GOLD
Scorpions forward Pablo Campos was announced as the NASL Golden Boot winner, given to the player who finishes the season with the most regular season goals. Campos ended the season with 20 goals.
Goalkeeper Daryl Sattler was also given league honors, earning the NASL Golden Glove, which is given to the goalkeeper with the lowest goals against average during the regular season. Sattler boasted a 0.79 GAA and a league-best 13 shutouts.
The series shifts to San Antonio for the second leg of the semifinals, which will be played at Heroes Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 14. Kickoff for the match is set for 6 p.m.
Tickets for the match are still available and can be purchased online at www.sanantonioscorpionstickets.com/naslplayoffs&Tickets or by calling 210-495-8686.