The distance from San Antonio to Minnesota is 1,250 miles, but that didn’t deter a group of passionate Scorpions fans from making the journey north to support their team on the NASL opening kickoff weekend.
The frozen north as it turned out.
“It was cold and snowing and wet,” said Lee Ochoa, who was one of six members of the Bexar County Casuals who flew to Minnesota to meet up with other Scorpions faithful from around the country to form a group of about 20 fans for the first game of the season. “Coming from Texas we don’t see snow very often and on Friday afternoon it was snowing pretty hard, so that was actually a nice thing for us.”
The Casuals left San Antonio at 6.30am on Friday morning and returned home on Sunday evening having seen their Scorpions hold Minnesota United FC to a 0-0 draw in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The noisy section of away fans, armed with as many flags as they could carry, chanted and cheered for their team throughout the game.
“The Minnesota fans told us they rarely see another supporters group visit, so it was nice of them to acknowledge us and I think they appreciated us being so vocal during the game,” added Ochoa. “We had other members of the fan club who have left San Antonio and now live in Minnesota and also from California join us for the game. People who have had to move away are still loyal to the Scorpions, so it was nice to get them to come in.”
The decision to take to the road to support Tim Hankinson’s team was not made until the spring schedule was announced in January. Ochoa estimates those who made the journey from San Antonio spent around $800 to cover the cost of flights, car, rental, hotel nights, food and entertainment.
“It was unplanned because we wanted to go to an away game, but didn’t know which one,” explained Ochoa. “We found out it was Minnesota away for the first game and because we’d lost three players to them, goalkeeper Daryl Sattler and Pablo Campos being two of our best players last season, that was an incentive right there. And of course Minnesota got to the final last year so we thought it would be a good game.
“We wanted to see the city and experience Minnesota, which was a place none of us had been before, and it turned out to be a really good weekend. We had to save up a lot of money for this and those who could afford to go went.”
The Bexar County Casuals, who also traveled to the first-ever Scorpions game away to the Atlanta Silverbacks last season, plan to hit the road again in August when the New York Cosmos return to NASL action.
But before that, there comes the excitement of the first Scorpions home game at San Antonio’s new Toyota Field stadium, this Saturday against the reigning champion Tampa Bay Rowdies.
“To have our own stadium, our own home, means we’re definitely excited,” said Ochoa. “You never really know what to expect, but we’re not sharing it with another team and we’re going to show our affection and be as loud as we can for the Scorpions.”
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