The San Diego Sockers are Ron Newman Cup Champions again with a 4-3 victory on Sunday over the Florida Tropics.
Kraig Chiles was selected as the Ron Newman Cup Finals MVP with his two goals and two assists in the series, including the championship-winning goal.
The Sockers came out with a fire in their eyes, ready to defend their title and win in front of the home crowd. Brandon Escoto got the arena going with a goal just 66 seconds into the game. San Diego put the pedal to the metal and, with 3:30 off the clock, already had a two-goal lead after Tavoy Morgan made a wonderful turn with the ball and blasted a shot past Rainer Hauss.
The Sockers dominated Florida for much of the first quarter and seemed to have a third goal, but Hauss made a goal-line stop that looked to have crossed. San Diego would challenge the call unsuccessfully, and Florida would then score immediately after the restart through Victor Parreiras. The Tropics would start to settle into the game for the rest of the first and into the second.
Early on in the second quarter, the Sockers were on the back foot, and Florida took advantage to tie the game at two. Breno Oliveira would beat Boris Pardo after a great team effort that evened the score 47 seconds into the quarter. The tie would not last long as Escoto would get a restart passed to him and beat the defender to give Hauss no chance to make a save. San Diego would go on and take control of the game once again, peppering in shots on Hauss but Hauss and the Florida defense was up to the challenge the Sockers laid out for them. San Diego would put 19 shots on goal in the half and head into the break with a 3-2 lead.
Coming back out, Florida would use a counterattack through JP Reyes and Ricardinho Sobrina to even the game once again. Reyes would get past Morgan and hit a shot wide that Pardo could not get on to and into the waiting feet of Sobrina, who put the ball into the empty net.
The Sockers would not relent, though, as they looked to go ahead once again. The captain, now six-time indoor champion, Kraig Chiles, took matters into his own hands with a majestic shot that looped over Hauss and into the top left corner to take the lead at 6:19 into the third quarter. The aggressive play of Florida started to come out in full force as the fouls would start piling up leading into the fourth and final quarter.
With 15 minutes left in their season, the Tropics threw everything they had at the wall. Florida pushed hard, but Pardo showed why he was selected as MASL’s Goalkeeper of the Year. Pardo would go on to make great save after great save in the fourth, and the defense led by Guerrero Pino did their part in front of Pardo to hold onto the lead. Time ticked on, and Florida was running out of options. With the goalkeeper pulled had one last chance with 15 seconds left in the game, but Pardo would get up and make his best save of the game and secure the Sockers’ 16th indoor championship.
With the victory in Sunday night’s Game 2, the Sockers ended the season with a combined record of 29-0-2 with two players, Boris Pardo and Tavoy Morgan, selected into the Elite Six. Pardo and Morgan were both also nominated for MASL MVP, with Pardo collecting Goalkeeper of the year honors. Guerrero Pino was nominated for MASL Defender of the Year, and Coach Phil Salvagio was nominated as Coach of the Year. With all that said, Pardo put it best before the game. “It’s great to be nominated and win, but we’re here for the rings,” Pardo said. At the end of the night, captain Kraig Chiles would be the first to lift the Sockers’ 16th title, adding yet another championship to the already bulging trophy case for the San Diego Sockers.