The San Diego Sockers (8-0) continued their season today after a long break for the holidays and remained solid on both sides of the ball, as Luan Oliveira scored four goals, while Boris Pardo was efficient in the goalie box as the Sockers blew away their opponent, the Turlock Express (2-9), 8-2.
The scoring began early in the first quarter after Erick Tovar collected the ball and passed it off to Oliveira, who took care of business and scored to give the Sockers an early lead. However, the Express were persistent in getting pressure on the ball and forcing the Sockers defense to be mindful and stay on their toes. Oliveira would strike again in the box, poking the ball right past the diving Edgar Martinez to give San Diego a 2-0 lead.
The Express kept driving though and had a few opportunities, but all were wasted by superb San Diego defense. Pardo, not to be forgotten, slapped away shots and even layed out and intercepted a Turlock pass off the wall to keep the Express off the board in the first quarter.
The second quarter was relatively quiet as both teams played the indoor soccer version of hot potato, passing the ball amongst themselves and swiping the ball when an errant pass occurred. More than a few times, Turlock would push the ball forward and take a shot, but many of them were rushed as the physical San Diego defense forced many of the shots to be off target. Jose Barajas was the one to finally break through San Diego’s defenses and snuck a shot past Pardo to put Turlock on the board. However, neither team could do much else and the score remained 2-1 going into the half.
San Diego began the offensive onslaught in the second half of the game with strategic patience. After a near miss by Brandon Escoto, the Sockers would regroup and begin a fresh attack. After Tovar’s shot was blocked by Martinez, the ball bounced right over to Escoto, who didn’t hesitate to slam the ball into the back of the net for a goal. Turlock was still working hard though, and thwarted a 2 on 1 breakaway from the Sockers.
Hard contact from Anthony Pulido was enough to have defender Ray Contreras hit the deck and earn Pulido a blue card. The Sockers, who have been lethal on the power play this season, took advantage of the now 4-man Express defense, as it was Tovar who got the goal for the visitors. San Diego would add one more for good measure as Oliviera found the back of the net once again and made the score 5-1.
As they got more and more desperate, the Express started to play with more physicality to try to catch up to the Sockers. It worked to a degree as Ivan Campos, one of the lead scorers for the Express, was able to rifle a shot past a crossed up Pardo to chip away at the San Diego lead. Unfortunately, it would not be enough for the Express, as San Diego piled on more goals to cement their lead. Even a power play gifted to them after Hiram Ruiz was called for a reckless tackle couldn’t save Turlock as San Diego stormed down the field to pick up yet another score, this time with Cerda putting some extra sauce on the ball as his shot zoomed over Martinez’ head.
Turlock than began their six-man offense, but San Diego has had plenty of experience and handled it with ease. They were even able to pick up two more goals as both Ruiz and Oliveira scored for their team. Eventually, the Sockers decided to play it safe and kept the ball to themselves, and the clock wound down to zero to signal a merciful end to the game as San Diego was able to take care of business on the road again.
The Sockers will be back at the Valley View Casino Center to play this same Express team Sunday, January 7 at 5:05 p.m.
The Sockers will host Wellness Night as well as a blood drive in conjunction with the San Diego Blood Bank. The blood drive will be located in the north side of the parking lot and will be running from 12:00-5:00 p.m.. The gates open at 4:00 p.m. and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Sockers Water Bottle, while the price for parking will be picked up by the team. If you can’t make it, always remember that you can watch the Sockers for free on the MASL’s very own YouTube page. However, it is always better to see the action up close and personal, and with the way this team is rolling along, you may want to join in and watch the excitement.