photo courtesy of San Antonio Scorpions
By FRANCO PANIZO
The celebration began even before kickoff and even that was not enough to stop the San Antonio Scorpions.
Having already clinched the NASL regular season title a day earlier because of the Tampa Bay Rowdies' failure to pick up three points, the Scorpions played to a 1-1 draw with Minnesota Stars FC in their regular season finale on Sunday. San Antonio scored early before giving up an equalizer in the second half, but that did not spoil the ensuing trophy presentation for the expansion Scorpions.
Now the Scorpions will aim to translate that success over to the postseason, where they are the No. 1 seed and have homefield advantage. San Antonio will get a bye in the quarterfinals and will await to face the lowest seed that advances to the semifinals.
Here is a look back at the rest of the Week 25 action in NASL:
EDMONTON SCORE TWICE LATE TO SPLIT POINTS WITH STRIKERS
If the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers were hoping to pick up some momentum ahead of the playoffs on Sunday, they failed miserably. The Strikers settled for a 2-2 draw with FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium despite having a two-goal lead going into the 89th minute. Elvir Gigolaj trimmed the deficit in the 90th minute and Paul Craig scored the tying goal in stoppage time to give the 1,392 Eddies fans in attendance a treat.
FOJO SCORES TO GIVE ISLANDERS TIE WITH SILVERBACKS
The Puerto Rico Islanders needed a second-half goal from Justin Fojo to prevent a loss in their season finale, tying the Atlanta Silverbacks 1-1 in front of a crowd of 1,507 at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel on Saturday. Atlanta went ahead just before the half-hour mark on a goal from Danny Barrera, but Fojo equalized shortly after halftime to prevent the Silverbacks from getting a big result at the end of what has been a disappointing year.
ROWDIES, RAILHAWKS PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW
The Tampa Bay Rowdies had a chance to put pressure on the San Antonio Scorpions and maybe even take first place in the NASL standings, but the second-place side put forth an underwhelming performance in a scoreless draw with the Carolina RailHawks. Each team had 13 shots but neither was able to find the back of the net in a game played in front of 7,310 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday. Tampa Bay still earned a first round playoff bye but they did not finish atop the table.
NASL STANDINGS (bold teams have qualified for the playoffs)
1. San Antonio Scorpions (13-7-8, 47 points, +19 GD)
2. Tampa Bay Rowdies (12-7-9, 45 points, +7 GD)
3. Puerto Rico Islanders (11-9-8, 41 points, +2 GD)
4. Carolina RailHawks (10-8-10, 40 points, -2 GD)
5. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (9-10-9, 36 points, -6 GD)
6. Minnesota Stars FC (8-9-11, 35 points, +1 GD)
7. Atlanta Silverbacks (7-12-9, 30 points, -11 GD)
8. FC Edmonton (5-13-10, 25 points, -10 GD)
9/29 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at Carolina RailHawks
9/30 Minnesota Stars FC at Puerto Rico Islanders
10/6-10/7 TBD at Tampa Bay Rowdies
10/6-10/7 TBD at San Antonio Scorpions
What do you think of this weekend's NASL action? Which team is the hottest going into the postseason? Who do you see winning the first round playoff matches?
Share your thoughts below.