Toyota Field – The San Antonio Scorpions are the defending NASL champions and that means a huge target on the back of the team. Their preseason slate came to an end tonight as they used it as a final tune up before the regular season and their title defense begins next week.
The Scorpions defeated the Costa Rica U-23 National Team 4-2 at Toyota Field on Saturday night. San Antonio got goals from three different players in the victory.
Costa Rica would strike early as Jairo Picado put home a shot past San Antonio goalkeeper Jon Kempin just four minutes into the match. San Antonio would tie things up just over four minutes later as Marvin Chavez sent a low shot towards the net to beat Costa Rica goalie Ariel Lopez to make it 1-1.
San Antonio took their first lead of the night in the 34th minute as Cesar Elizondo intercepted a Costa Rica passing attempt in the box and buried it past Lopez to put the Scorpions up 2-1.
Before halftime, Cristian Palomeque had a chance to score for San Antonio. As Palomeque raced down the field, his jersey was held by Costa Rica’s Din Jon Arias to stop him from scoring. The referee gave Arias a yellow card, much to the displeasure of the fans and Scorpions head coach Alen Marcina. The referee came over to discuss the call with Marcina, but the coach was given a red card and ejected from the game.
“Clearly there was some miscommunication,” Marcina said following the game. “Clearly that is a red card, I voiced my opinion and I guess they took it personal. Anywhere in the world that is a red card, but it is what it is.”
In the second half, the Scorpions continued where they left off. San Antonio was awarded a penalty kick after Elizondo was pulled down by Costa Rican defender Alexander Robinson. Eric Hassli took the penalty kick and sent the ball towards the left post, beating Lopez to put the Scorpions up 3-1.
Costa Rica finally stopped the bleeding in the 77th minute as Juan Gabriel Guzman converted on a shot to beat Kempin to cut the San Antonio lead to one goal. Just 12 minutes later, Pablo Cruz sent a shot towards net that was saved by Lopez, but Chavez put home the rebound to seal the 4-2 win for the Scorpions.
“We know we can score a lot of goals,” Marcina said. “We’ve got to be better in our teams shape and our defensive responsibilities, its getting there slowly but surely.”
The Scorpions will return to the pitch next Saturday when they open the 2015 NASL Spring Season against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field.