Editor’s note: Howard Alperin will be doing San Antonio Scorpions beat writing for The Current. So, he will submit articles on the Scorpions, periodically.
The San Antonio Scorpions began their playoff push Saturday, in Blaine, Minnesota at NSC Stadium, versus the Minnesota Stars.
It was the first game in a two game, home and home series, to determine which team moves on to the North American Soccer League 2012 Finals.
This first week of the playoffs for the Scorpions brought an unpleasant surprise, as the Commissioner of NASL, David Downs, decided to step down from his position. Downs had signed a two-year extension earlier in the year, in February.
Downs was believed to have been a natural choice for the position when he took it a little more than a year and a half ago. He is a former executive with ABC Sports and Univision, as well as the committee Chairman in the U.S. bid for the World Cup of 2022, which was awarded to Qatar (the U.S. was selected to second place in the bidding process).
Another downer to note for NASL was the news this past week of the troubles in Edmonton. It was learned that the Edmonton team will be making drastic cuts to its budget for the next year and dismissed its head coach and others involved with the team.
There is still much up in the air with pro soccer’s Second Division. While it is true that the New York Cosmos have joined up with NASL, still questions remain about this minor league’s survival.
There are positive rumors of a Northern Virginia franchise and an Indianapolis franchise, both on the verge of making a commitment. But, there is doubt about other franchises possibly dropping out, like the Scorpions playoff opponent, the Minnesota Stars.
One can only suspect that Downs may be leaving because he didn’t think NASL would be profitable and didn’t want to fight the fight any longer. It may be he just had better options on the table and the lack of integrity for breaching a contract was not a big deal to him.
How does this all affect the Scorpions? If NASL does not continue to be solvent and must fold, as many minor leagues have of all sports in the U.S, then, their next option would be to join up with United Soccer Leagues, a more financially sound enterprise, considered as Division 3 in the U.S. pro soccer pyramid.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the Scorpions joining USL. The problem is that the Spurs organization has had the rights to a USL franchise for San Antonio for a while now.
It is unlikely NASL will close it business for the 2013 season, but, after 2013 the window may be closing on the league for good.
Let more of the San Antonio soccer soap opera begin again.
The game in Minnesota finished in a 0-0 draw, so the second game’s final score in San Antonio will be the final score of the home and home.
San Antonio soccer fans have their chance to cheer on the Scorpions in the second home and home at Heroes Stadium this Sunday, October 14th.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com