The last time the San Diego Sockers met with the Baltimore Blast, it was on a shortened Baltimore playing field. The Blast took advantage of the shortened field and beat the Sockers 9-5.
This time, the playing field was even. Literally.
On the normal-sized field of Pechanga Arena, the San Diego defense only allowed Baltimore to score a single goal while three goals in the third quarter lifted San Diego to victory.
After the game, Boris Pardo said that defense was a main factor of practice, but admitted that Baltimore had trouble playing on a longer field.
“That (defense) was what we focused on,” said Pardo. “But also, I think the field size plays a factor… the dimensions are different, and we are used to playing on a different field.
Pardo, for his part, played one of his finest games of the season as the San Diego keeper made 15 total saves on 16 shots taken against him. On more than one occasion, Pardo made an athletic dive to prevent a Baltimore shot from rattling in the back of the net.
The defense did their job in shutting down a Blast squad that can light up the lamp in bunches. Specifically, top scorer Vini Dantas was limited to a mere assist as defenders like Guerrero Pino helped shut down the striker throughout the game.
The game remained gridlocked at 0-0 until Taylor Bond scored a second-period goal to give San Diego an early lead. However, Baltimore’s Mohamed Ndiaye scored the tying goal two minutes later, shooting a shot the split through the Sockers’ defense and past Pardo.
From then on, it was all Sockers. Kraig Chiles scored the first goal of the second half after seeing a six-game scoring streak get snapped against the Florida Tropics while Brian Farber tacked on a point of his own later in the quarter.
The goal of the night belonged to Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz, who took a shot with a right-footed bicycle kick that thread the thin needle of the goalpost and Baltimore goalkeeper Jonatas Melo’s head to score the fourth goal of the night.
By the time Leonardo de Oliveira tallied the fifth Sockers goal of the night, San Diego had all but figured out the secret to Baltimore’s offense and took home the victory.
After getting shown a colored card seven times in their previous match, San Diego was not shown a card all night while Baltimore was shown two cards. Despite San Diego not scoring during the power plays they were gifted, the fact that no Socker spent time in the penalty box was a testament to the discipline that can win San Diego games in the future against teams with the caliber of Baltimore.
After the quick stop in San Diego, the Sockers will now be back on the road for three games, beginning with a stop in Ontario to take on the Ontario Fury.