An impressive performance from Stefano Pinho, scoring a hat-trick proved too much for the Scorpions to overcome. Fort Lauderdale defeated San Antonio 4-2 at Toyota Field on Saturday night effectively ending the Scorpions playoff hopes.
Stephen DeRoux was contemplative after the match, “Honestly it is hard. Last year at this point we were on a great run, finished with the championship. This year it’s a lot different. I can’t pinpoint one thing. It’s been a lot of things. I think it just starts with focus. All of us have to be focused.” Unfortunately Scorpions head coach Alen Marcina denied media’s requests for an interview after the match, perhaps due to the pressure on his position after another loss.
A well worked passing move opened up the Scorpions and gave Fort Lauderdale the opening goal. Some interchange between Hendry Thomas and PC allowed PC to set up Stefano Pinho who was left with a simple finish.
Just five minutes later the lead was doubled as some horrific defending allowed the goal for Fort Lauderdale. PC was given acres of space, allowing him to square for a wide open Marlon Freitas who left Daniel Fernandes with no chance.
The next two chances both fell to the Scorpions, the first to Eric Hassli, who was left with an open net. The next was even more criminal after Omar Cummings was brought down for a penalty, Rafael Castillo’s stutter step failed and he shot well wide.
A poor offside trap cost the Scorpions dearly as Stephen De Roux didn’t get back quick enough, leaving PC wide open. That allowed him to square again, for a wide open Stefano Pinho putting it out of the reach of Fernandes.
One moment of brilliance pulled the Scorpions back in to the match as Kris Tyrpak marked his debut with a perfect start. Being afforded too much space from 25 yards out, spotting Lionel Brown off his line, he chipped the keeper perfectly.
“I was in the right place at the right time.” Said Tyrpak. “I knew Eric (Hassli) was going to challenge that guy, he’d been battling him the whole night and I was hoping I’d be in the right place. The ball fell to me and I looked up and saw the keeper was off his line.”
Fort Lauderdale should have made it four in the 77th minute when they had possession with Fernandes 40 yards off his line. But they decided to run it up, which allowed Rafael Castillo to get back and block the final shot.
Stephen De Roux celebrated breaking the Scorpions minutes played as he made for a dramatic finish. Milton Palacios squared the ball for DeRoux who put it away, low, across the face, to set up a dramatic final ten minutes.
But the hopes of a comeback were crushed in the 87th minute when a good cross from the Strikers found Pinho. Pinho had just enough space to stab it home and score the vital goal to seal the win, and his hat-trick.