Starting a four-game road trip over two weeks is tough for most teams in the MASL. Starting said road trip with a quarter of starters due to rest is even harder. The San Diego Sockers are not most teams.
It also helps to start of the road trip against the now 3-18 Turlock Express who, after today’s game, have allowed the most goals in the MASL.
Even with critical strikers Kraig Chiles and Landon Donavan staying behind to rest up and Jesus Molina in the keeper’s box instead of MVP candidate Boris Pardo, the Sockers didn’t pull any punches in their 9-3 stomping of the Express.
The first goal of the game belonged to Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz, whose shot went off of Turlock goalie Edgar Martinez’ legs and into the goal. A second-quarter goal from Brandon Escoto made the score 2-0 while Juan Gonzales and Christian Gutierrez both tallied their scores by the end of the half. Not taking to kindly to this scoring bonanza was Arturo Pulido, who blew off some steam by shoving Ruiz to the ground and earning a blue card. Remember his name for now.
Tempers continued to flare in the third quarter after a boarding penalty was issued to Turlock’s Adrian Plascencia. San Diego made them pay for that with a goal from Gutierrez, with the striker chipping the ball over a sliding Martinez, bouncing it off the wall, and slamming it into the back of the net for a goal.
The fourth quarter is when the fun indeed began in the game, as Turlock struck first in the quarter with an early goal from Adrian Gutierrez, only to be answered by Ruiz’ second goal of the night.
Thanks to the second blue card of the game for Plascencia, the Sockers were gifted a power play opportunity and didn’t waste it. They got a little bit of help as well from the Turlock defense as well, as Leonardo De Oliviera’s shot ricocheted off an Express defender and bounced into his net for a goal credited to De Oliviera. An impressive bicycle kick from Pulido made the score 7-2, but it would be the last goal that Pulido would score in the game.
Shortly after Ruiz locked up his third goal of the game as well as his hat trick, Pulido was caught holding a Socker after a free kick. After getting a blue card and a yellow card in the second quarter, the Turlock striker was rewarded with a red card and an early exit to the showers. Even with Turlock scoring one more goal with six attackers, a De Oliviera power-play goal gave the Sockers nine goals on the game, more than enough to cruise past their Pacific Division rivals.
The Sockers are back at it again on Sunday, this time against the Dallas Sidekicks. Donovan will be making his road debut in Dallas.