After a long offseason that saw many old faces leave while many new players emerged, the Sockers have finally kicked off their season with a 5-3 come-from-behind win against their old rivals, the Dallas Sidekicks. Boris Pardo made eight saves at the net to preserve the preseason match.
It has been a while since the Sidekicks have seen the playing field as their last game came in the 2016-2017 season. Their rivalry with the Sockers dates back to 1983 from the old Major Indoor Soccer League, and the two teams will be able to face each other again twice this season.
The Sockers got off to an admittedly slow start and, while Dallas was also locked in a defensive battle for possession, it took until the twelfth minute if the game for the Sidekicks to get their first goal as VcMor Eligwe was left wide open in the middle of the box for an easy goal. A one-timer from Cameron Brown made the score 2-0 at the end of the half.
It wouldn’t take long for the Sockers to put one on the scoreboard thanks to Brandon Escoto, who was the second-highest scorer for San Diego last season. Escoto slammed the ball off the wall while fighting off a Dallas defender, collected the ricochet, and blasted a shot into the net for the first San Diego goal.
Netting his first goal of the preseason would be Leonardo De Oliviera, who was just acquired by the team on November 14th. De Oliviera was alone in the top right corner of the field and made a tough shot look easy, placing it just over the head of the Dallas goalie to tie up the ballgame.
The Sidekicks would tie the game back up on a Brown goal, but free agent add Travis Pittman was able to tie up the score on a pass from Kraig Chiles. Pittman previously played for the New York Cosmos of the National Premier Soccer League and spent time with the Baltimore Blast.
Captain Chiles put the Sockers firmly ahead with his fourth-period goal, but the dagger in the heart came from the foot of midfielder Cesar Cerda, who sniped a shot from midfield and put the ball in the back of the net. Pardo put the finishing touches on the game and San Diego won their first and only preseason matchup.
The Sockers begin their 40th anniversary season on Sunday, December 16 at 5:05 p.m. against Rio Grande Valley at Valley View Casino Center.