Chiles, Pardo power Sockers past Outlaws 5-4

Credit: Luke Johnson/ EVT Sports

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Credit: Luke Johnson/ EVT Sports

Captain Kraig Chiles and Boris Pardo led the way as the San Diego Sockers (3-0-0, 8 pts) took down the Mesquite Outlaws (3-1-0, 9 pts) 5-4 in a hotly contested matchup.

Pardo outdueled early Goalkeeper of the Year candidate Eduardo Cortes, the current leader in the MASL in Goals Against Average and Save Percentage. Chiles netted a hat trick, with his third which proved to be the game-winner.

The Sockers and Chiles started the scoring early in the contest after a scintillating run from Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz. Chiles knocked home the rebound off of Cortes’ gloves. Both teams would not let the early goal be a sign of things to come, as the defensive work from Mesquite and San Diego led to easy shots for the goalkeepers.

Mesquite would roar back with two quick goals from Emmanuel Aguirre and Axel Chakounte to take a 2-1 lead with 3:39 off the clock in the second quarter.

The Sockers would try to capitalize on two blue cards the Outlaws received in the quarter, but Cortes and the defensive unit proved to be too much for the power play of San Diego. With Pardo and Cortes playing at the top of their game, the score would remain 2-1 going into halftime.

San Diego Sockers midfielder Brandon Escort shoots the ball during the first half of the game against the Mesquite Outlaws at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif. on Dec. 18, 2022./ Photo Credit- Luke Johson/ EVT Sports

Coming out of the break, Phil Salvagio’s halftime team talk worked wonders as the Sockers unlocked the Outlaws’ defense immediately. Felipe Gonzalez shot was tapped in on the far post by Christian Gutierrez to tie the game.

Mesquite and San Diego would trade goals midway through the period. Chakounte would score his second of the contest, only to be answered by Chiles 63 seconds later. The Sockers would stay on the front foot. With less than a minute in the quarter, Chiles lofted a pass to Brandon Escoto, and he volleyed the ball into the net.

Early on in the fourth quarter, Erik Macias found Sebastian Mendez off a quick top-of-the-arc restart that was blasted past Pardo to tie the game at four with 2:09 off the clock in the quarter.

Mesquite player David Ortiz took a heavy touch at midfield and proceeded to take down Luis Ortega, resulting in a blue card. This happened at a critical time in the game, and Leonardo de Oliveira would find just enough space to hit Chiles on the back post. A spot that Chiles does not miss from and what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

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Pardo and the Sockers’ defense made sure that the lead would hold as Pardo ended the game with a flurry of saves in the final two minutes to clinch the 5-4 victory.

With the win, San Diego stays undefeated in the young season and ends the 2022 calendar year with an astonishing 30-0-2 record. The Sockers will next see action after in the new year with a Texas-sized back-to-back with the Dallas Sidekicks on January 7 and 8. Go Sockers.

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