BAYAMON, P.R. (June 16, 2012) - In a battle between first and second in the NASL, the San Antonio Scorpions came out on top, leaping into first place in the league standings with a 2-0 road victory against the Puerto Rico Islanders.
Goals from Scorpion forwards Esteban Bayona and Pablo Campos lifted the Scorpions (6W-4T-1L, 22 points) to a key midseason victory over the Islanders (6W-2T-3L, 20 points), who sat at the top of the NASL table for nearly the entire season.
The win extends the Scorpions unbeaten streak in NASL competition to nine consecutive games despite being a man down for most of the second half.
"We've been in this situation before," Scorpions Head Coach Tim Hankinson said. "There was no panic, just execution under the circumstances. At the beginning of the season, we weren't ready to fight for each other but now we have a team that fights for each other."
The Scorpions will now travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, June 23.
Both teams battled for control of the midfield early on, attempting to establish an offensive presence and swapping modest scoring opportunities in the early stages.
The Islanders received a free kick just outside the box in the 13th minute, but David Foley's attempt missed the far post by a few feet to end the threat.
Esteban Bayona provided the Scorpions with their first strong opportunity in the 16th minute, receiving a pass just outside the box with two Puerto Rico defenders bearing down on him. Bayona was able to get a shot off, but it sailed just above the crossbar.
Daryl Sattler made a critical one-handed save in the 30th minute on a point-blank shot by Islanders midfielder Jarad Van Schaik to keep the game scoreless. It was one of four saves made by Sattler in the match to give him his third straight shutout and his sixth clean sheet of the season.
The Scorpions struck first in the 39th minute when Islanders goalkeeper Richard Martin could not hold on to a shot from forward Walter Ramirez, which allowed Bayona to race in and knock in the rebound for his first goal of the season.
But in the 42nd minute, the Scorpions were dealt a blow when Ramirez was shown his second yellow card of the match, giving the Islanders a one-man advantage.
Going into the final 45 minutes, the Islanders went on the attack in their attempt to score the equalizer, dominating ball possession and pressing forward with repeated attempts on Sattler.
But Sattler and the Scorpions backline broke up a number of close opportunities for Puerto Rico and kept San Antonio in the lead.
In the 70th minute, despite being a man down, forward Pablo Campos provided the Scorpions with an insurance goal. The Brazilian forward made a nifty move inside the box to get past a Puerto Rico defender and then blasted a shot past Martin to give San Antonio a 2-0 lead.
The Scorpions almost made it a three-goal lead when defender Jonathan Greenfield got a shot past Martin, but went off the post.
Puerto Rico had its best opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the 86th minute, when a handball was called inside the box to give the Islanders a penalty kick. But forward David Foley's attempt went off the crossbar.
The Scorpions remain the only team in the NASL with an undefeated road record and have won six of their last eight league matches.
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