By FRANCO PANIZO
The San Antonio Scorpions were minutes away from walking out of St. Petersburg, Fla. with a big 2-1 victory that would have ensured they stayed in first place atop the NASL standings.
Unfortunately for them, the Tampa Bay Rowdies ruined those plans.
The Rowdies scored twice in the final few minutes of their dramatic match with San Antonio, and they claimed a 3-2 victory that seemed improbable to the 2,559 Rowdies fans that endured the rainy conditions at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night.
Luke Mulholland scored an unassisted equalizer in the 88th minute and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake scored his second of the game on a pass from Daniel Antoniuk in injury time to complete a rally that broke the hearts of the Scorpions fans everywhere.
Tampa Bay had fallen behind in the first half when Jonathan Greenfield broke the deadlock, but the hosts responded when Yoshitake scored before halftime. Esteban Bayona temporarily gave the lead back to the Scorpions in the second half, but the late-game heroics from the Rowdies ensured they would be the ones to pick up the win and improve their standing in the table.
Here is a look back at the rest of the Week 12 action in NASL:
ISLANDERS JUMP BACK INTO FIRST WITH WIN OVER SILVERBACKS
The Puerto Rico Islanders are back in first place in the NASL standings, and they can partially thank Nicholas Addlery for that. Addlery scored twice on Saturday night to lift the Islanders to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Stadium on Saturday night. Addlery's opener was negated by a Matt Horth strike, but his second goal made sure the 5,000 spectators in attendance would leave dejectedly.
RAILHAWKS EXTEND WINNING STREAK BY DEFEATING EDMONTON
Two goals in a span of four minutes in the first half paved the way for the Carolina RailHawks to top FC Edmonton, 2-0, and extend their league winning streak to four matches. Nick Zimmerman netted the winner in the 34th minute of the match played in front of the 3,600 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday night, and Breiner Ortiz doubled the lead in the 38th. The result drops the Eddies to 3-7-2 on the season.
TWO FIRST-HALF GOALS SEE STARS BEAT STRIKERS
The third-place Minnesota Stars FC kept within striking distance of first place in the league this weekend, riding a pair of first half goals to a 2-1 triumph over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night. Neil Hlavaty scored the opener for the Stars before the Strikers equalized through Mark Anderson, who knocked in his fifth of the season. Fortunately for the Stars and the 2,442 in attendance at NSC Stadium, Simone Bracalello netted on a diving header before the end of the first half to cap the scoring and secure the three points.
1. Puerto Rico Islanders (7-3-2, 23 points, +11 GD)
2. San Antonio Scorpions (6-2-4, 22 points, +6 GD)
3. Minnesota Stars FC (5-2-5, 20 points, +2 GD)
4. Tampa Bay Rowdies (5-5-3, 18 points, -2 GD)
5. Carolina RailHawks (4-4-5, 17 points, +2 GD)
6. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (4-5-4, 16 points, -3 GD)
7. FC Edmonton (3-7-2, 11 points, -3 GD)
8. Atlanta Silverbacks (1-7-5, 8 points, -13 GD)
What do you think of this weekend's NASL action? Impressed by how the Rowdies knocked off the Scorpions? Think the Islanders will stay in first place for a while now that they're back at the top of the standings?
Share your thoughts below.