Will the Renewed SA Scorpions Finish the Job This Time?
Published: April 3, 2013
Among the new players to watch this year: Six-foot-six-inch tall Croatian international defender Luka Vucko and Bosnian midfielder Edin Husic. “[Vucko] adds size, finesse, and experience,” said Hankinson. “He’s an enormously tall central defender, but he’s got feet like a South American. That’s a wonderful pick up for us.” According to Hankinson, Husic, who played in the Croatian first division and for the Bosnian national team, is “a very intelligent and technical midfielder, good on the ball, and has good character.”
Hankinson made a smart move this season, creating a better bench than in 2012. While Campos was the lone striker last season, the Scorpions now have several picks for center-forward. One of them is 24-year-old Serbian forward Nikola Vasilić, who is six foot three inches tall and played in first division teams in Croatia and Bosnia.
“We’re still getting to know all these new players, but we’re confident in them,” said Hankinson. “We may have lost some star players from last year, but now we have more options.”
Unlike last year, when fans had no clue as to who was playing for the other team, this time the Crocketteers (the Scorpions’ main fan base, one of four groups that include the Bexar County Casuals, The Alamo City Ultras, and Dragoons 78) will have a chance to jeer the main “enemies”: the Minnesota Stars (who beat the Scorpions in that infamous semifinal) and current champs the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The season starts April 6 in Minnesota, and comes home April 13 against Tampa Bay.
“This year we’ll have a few players our fans cheered for last year that will be playing on opposing teams, and that will build a whole different dynamic and anticipation to the match,” said Hankinson.
No match will be more anticipated than the home game against Minnesota on June 1: it will be the first time Pablo Campos, the Scorpions’ darling in 2012, plays against the team.
“How will our fans greet him? We’ll see,” said Hankinson with a mischievous smile.
On the one hand, the Scorpions owe Campos (and former goalie Sattler) a good portion of last year’s success. On the other hand, the Brazilian forward blew it in the semifinal against, precisely, Minnesota. First, he scored a goal that practically secured the Scorpions’ advance to the finals. But in the 21st minute he completely lost it, head-butting an opponent and earning a red card that forced the Scorpions to play with 10 men for most of the game. The exhausted Scorpions finally lost when Minnesota scored twice in the last minutes of the game. It was a heartbreaker.
Instead of apologizing after losing the semifinal, Campos, who couldn’t be reached for comment, left the team.
“You see this in every sport: when a team wins big, there’s going to be certain players who are looking to cash in, and Pablo was demanding a very big contract, beyond our means,” said Hankinson. “Our owner [Gordon Hartman] often says, ‘We have to crawl before we walk, and walk before we run.’
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