Pechanga Arena- San Diego, California
The rivalry was back on.
After a year hiatus, the Dallas Sidekicks were reinstated into the MASL and immediately reignited their rivalry with the San Diego Sockers. The Sidekicks came into Pechanga Arena hungry to take advantage of a weary Sockers squad that nearly saw their long winning streak snapped against the Ontario Fury.
San Diego immediately established their dominance on the field less than a minute in, as Kraig Chiles’ pass to Brian Farber was chipped right over the head of Juan Gamboa and into the net for the first Sockers goal of the night. With the assist, Chiles extended his point streak to four games.
After a Leonardo De Oliviera goal made the score 2-0, it was time for Landon Donavan to extend his point streak to four games. The prolific striker, off a corner pass from Chiles, easily slipped past a man defending him to tap in a sneaky goal. Even after Dallas got on the board with a VcMor Eligwe goal, the Sockers took the three-goal lead right back on De Oliviera’s second goal of the game to make the game 4-1 after a quarter of play.
A tough defensive skirmish occurred in the second quarter, with both teams pushing and fighting for possession of the ball. Kraig Chiles was able to break through with his first goal of the game, hitting a ground ball that merrily skipped past a diving Gamboa.
“The first half of the first quarter was a talking point in our locker room,” said Chiles of the lightning start, “Our mentality was correct, we jumped all over them, and it was a great start to the game, that’s for sure.”
Dallas, however, had been getting quite upset at the referees of the game and showed their displeasure by arriving late to the second half of the game by staying in their locker room after the Sockers had already taken the field. The barking and chirping towards the referees continued in the third quarter until one man in red had enough, waving the yellow card towards the Sidekicks bench.
None of this squabbling affected the Sockers’ offensive tempo, proven by the three goals scored in the third quarter. First, Juan Gonzales found the perfect passing line and his shot split the legs of two Dallas defenders as well as Gamboa. Chiles, not to be outdone, fielded a pass from Donavan that was put in the perfect place at the perfect time and took care of business, sliding the ball into the goal for a power-play goal. Minutes later, a wide-open Gonzales took a missed shot from Christian Segura and redirected it into the back of the net. The end result of the all-you-can-score buffet was an 8-1 lead Sockers lead.
While the Sidekicks aggressively pushed for a comeback in the fourth quarter, San Diego’s defense stood fast and held off the onslaught. An early Dallas goal was wiped out thanks to a handball call, but the Sidekicks still pushed two goals from Eligwe by the end of the quarter. However, it was not close to enough as the Sockers surged ahead with an 8-3 victory.
For San Diego, it was their fifteenth straight victory and a solid rebound after a near loss to Ontario. They kick off a four-game road trip next week, starting with a Friday matchup against the Turlock Express