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Photo Credit: Kirk Florendo/The Paisano

The San Antonio Scorpions entered Saturday’s game in last place, having lost six of the past seven matches and salvaging a point with one draw on the season.

After the final whistle blew, a relieved Scorpions team and fan base finally had their first win of the fall season, defeating the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 in front of 6,488 fans who filled Toyota Field on Sept. 21.

“Obviously a win does a lot of things for you, it boosts the confidence and guys continue to believe,” Scorpions coach Alen Marcina said. “Up a goal or down a goal, for 90 minutes the guys continued to work and continued to press. Hats off to the guys that did it.”

It was in the 90th minute that the Scorpions finally had their luck change. Carolina gave up a gut-wrenching handball in their own box, resulting in a penalty shot for the Scorpions.

Scorpions’ leading goal scorer Hans Denissen would once again prove to be the man of the hour, converting the penalty and putting San Antonio up 2-1.

“He (RailHawks goalie Akira Fitzgerald) obviously knows where my penalties are going,” Denissen said. “Today I was lucky to place it in the corner where I always go to.”

Relieved for their first win of the fall season, Denissen reflected on how much it meant to the team.

“It is a great feeling obviously. We’ve been fighting so hard and battling these past couple weeks,” Denissen said. “It is difficult because you don’t see the results on the pitch on Saturdays, but now the hard work is paying off. It’s great for us and great for the Coach.”

Denissen’s goal now puts him tied for first in the NASL’s goal scoring standings. He is tied with Carolina RailHawks forward Brian Shriver with 12 goals each.

“It means that I help my team with goals. This time it’s three points, another time it can be one point,” Denissen said about leading the NASL in goal scoring. “If I score then I help the team and that’s all that matters to me.”

After dominating possession early on, Denissen gave up a poor foul in the 14th minute, allowing the RailHawks to get great position on a free kick.

Carolina was quick to capitalize when midfielder Kenney Walker whipped a curling ball into the box and it found defender Kevin Rutkiewicz who put it in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

“I didn’t think it was too much. The linesman didn’t do anything, but the ref made the call from behind,” Denissen said after the game. “The ref makes the decisions based on what he sees, and I don’t have anything against that.”

The Scorpions committed seven first half fouls while Carolina had three. One of the RailHawks’ fouls resulted in an injury to Scorpions midfielder Pat Phelan. Phelan clearly tried to play through it, but he had to be subbed out a few minutes later for Edin Husic.

In the 53rd minute, Scorpions forward Tomasz Zahorski received a ball from Denissen at the top of Carolina’s box and turned to shoot with a vicious shot, tying the game at 1-1.

This victory can potentially put San Antonio back into contention for the remainder of the fall season. They are now only four points away from FC Edmonton, and Marcina sees this as a sign of things to come.

“The guys did very well two games prior to this. There are individual errors that we got to clean up,” Marcina said. “When you make individual errors you come away with either nothing or a point. We have to build on this performance and get back to work on Monday.”

San Antonio will try to continue their run of form next Saturday, Sept. 28 as they take on Minnesota United FC.

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