The San Antonio Scorpions are your 2014 NASL Soccer Bowl champions after defeating the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 2-1, in front of a modern-era NASL Championship game record crowd of 7,847 at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas.
After 70 minutes of tense, scoreless soccer, the champions opened the scoring through Colombian midfielder Rafael Castillo‘s perfectly executed overhead kick. It wouldn’t, however, prove to be the winning goal, which meant Billy Forbes‘ 74th minute tally was the ultimate championship-winner after Walter Ramirez finished a tidy Strikers move with just 11 minutes of regulation to play.
“Hats off to my guys,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina. “All year they came together as one, as a true family. We dug it out and I’m very, very proud of them, of our organization and our great fans.”
The Scorpions, who for a while now have been rumored to be interested with a future Major League Soccer expansion side, are first-time winners of the modern-day Soccer Bowl. Founded in 2010, the South Texas have had preliminary and exploratory discussions with MLS commissioner Don Garber about a potential move to the U.S. Soccer pyramid’s first division.
But for now, the Scorpions will be pleased with their 2014 trophy haul, which also includes the 2014 NASL Fall division title.
Modern-day Soccer Bowl winners
2011 — NSC Minnesota Stars
2012 — Tampa Bay Rowdies
2013 — New York Cosmos
On Wednesday plans for a dramatic stadium expansion for the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions were released. The Texas club are doing it big.
The Scorpions, who were founded in 2010 and have three seasons in North America’s second-tier under their belt, are an ambitious club, as the plans to transform their Toyota Field home from an 8,000 capacity venue to over 18,000 prove.
[RELATED: Sacramento’s MLS ambitions]
If the plans are rubber stamped, the renovations could cost $45 million as San Antonio’s main aim is to bring an MLS franchise to South West Texas.
City Councilman Mike Gallagher made his claim for bringing MLS to San Antonio, as it was revealed in the release that other members of the City council are calling for all Councillors to unite and “pass a resolution affirming its desire to assist in bringing Major League Soccer to San Antonio.”
Here’s what else Gallagher had to say.
“The success of the San Antonio Scorpions and Toyota Field is providing compelling evidence that a professional soccer market exists here in San Antonio,” Gallagher said. “Soccer has the same potential to transform San Antonio into a major league city as pro basketball did over 43 years ago. The opportunity to bring MLS to San Antonio not only benefits the citizens of this city but also impacts South and Central Texas and Mexico.”
Below is a photo of what the planned expansion could look like, as the Scorpions grand plans for expansion look pretty darn impressive. The expansion would include adding an entire new upper tier to the stadium bowl and also adding a plethora of suites and three new club seating areas. Over the past four years attendance figures in the Texas city have impressed, as the last two NASL seasons have seen an average crowd of over 6,500 turn out.
However, with other cities such as Sacramento and Minneapolis serious about bringing Major League Soccer to town, it seems as though San Antonio is keen to get in on the MLS franchise rush before it ends.
After releasing stadium plans like these, they are certainly making waves.
Could MLS see a third team in Texas as part of its goal to have 24 teams by the end of the decade? San Antonio’s mayor and NASL franchise hope that’s the case as they met with MLS commissioner Don Garber on Tuesday.
Mayor Julian Castro and San Antonio Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman were set to meet with Garber ahead of Wednesday’s match between Mexico and South Korea, after Garber had to cancel a New York meeting with Castro in late 2013.
“(Garber) is certainly aware of growing popularity of the sport in San Antonio, and he’s excited to learn more during the visit,” MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said. “Clearly the Scorpions have been a tremendous success at the lower divisions, as illustrated by their strong support. It’s something all of us in the American soccer community have noticed.”
Surely the club would love to be in the news for something much bigger than trading a player for team travel accommodations.
The report from the San Antonio Express News notes that the league is braced for twin interest from the NASL’s Minnesota United in addition to one from the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, as well as Atlanta and, of course, David Beckham in Miami.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star has been working to drum up support for a soccer specific stadium in South Florida, enthusiastically aided by Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez and the pair will meet next Tuesday or Wednesday to go over their ideas.
And Garber may be there, too, though an MLS spokesman would not confirm it. Beckham’s been able to rally star power to his cause, with reports that LeBron James, Jay-Z and Beyonce are interested in helping MLS return to South Beach.
The location goal is still PortMiami, but MLS’ official site does say that the Beckham/Miami group has a list of about 25 sites they’d consider in South Florida.
Might Beckham share some info when he joins Jimmy Fallon on Friday’s show?