Josh Saunders, the veteran goalkeeper, capped an outstanding loan stint with the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions with another fine performance in goal. That performance gave the Scorpions their first NASL championship as San Antonio beat the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 in front of nearly 8,000 fans to win the Soccer Bowl.
After the Strikers missed a penalty in the 64th minute, San Antonio’s Rafael Castillo scored a phenomenal bicycle kick goal to give the Scorpions a 1-0 lead. Minutes later, he was the creator as he set up Billy Forbes to make the score 2-0. Ft. Lauderdale pulled one back in the 79th minute to close out the scoring.
Despite Ft. Lauderdale’s desperate pressing, Saunders coolly withstood the pressure to give the Scorpions a deserved title. At the final whistle, the fans rushed the field to embrace their heroes, ignoring pleas from the public address announcer to stay off it. Fireworks, confetti and The Isley Brothers’ "Shout" blaring from the loudspeakers added to the wild party.
The Soccer Bowl win gives Saunders his sixth trophy. He won two MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy (2011 and 2012), two Supporters Shields (also with the Galaxy, 2010 and 2011), and a third MLS Cup (in 2003, with the San Jose Earthquakes).
Next for Saunders: preseason with New York City FC, where he’ll join teammates David Villa, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Andrew Jacobson, Jeb Brovsky, and Frank Lampard.