San Diego, California
In a contest that saw both teams take shots at the goal and each other, the San Diego Sockers (11-2) got revenge for their loss on Thursday to the Ontario Fury (7-7). Thanks to four goals by captain Kraig Chiles and clutch saves from goalkeeper Chris Toth, the Sockers snapped their two game losing streak.
The first period was owned by the Fury as the Sockers looked tired after their flight home from Sonora and they were slow at times to get to the ball. Their shooting seemed to be off as well, as they took three shots against Fury goalkeeper Jose Miranda from close proximity and close range, but each shot missed their shot or was blocked by Miranda. The Fury began the scoring with Juan Gonzales rocketing a shot past a twisting Toth and into the net.
Minutes later, Maicon de Abreu started to charge down the field and was flanked by Matt Clare. Clare attempted a sliding stop, but de Abreu was able to sidestep the sliding Clare and, despite Toth charging in to stop him, hooked a shot off his left foot into the back of the net. The Fury would tack on one more after Brandon Escoto turned the ball over to Gonzales, who tore down the field beside Adrian Perez for a 2 vs 1 opportunity against Toth. With precise passing, the two were able to get the slip on Toth, and Perez’ shot gave the Fury a 3-0 advantage after the first period.
The second period began as somewhat as a stalemate with San Diego showing improved defense despite Ontario pressing their attack just as much as they did in the first period. The Fury blinked first in this defensive showdown as Chiles took his own rebounded shot and sent it right back where it came from, putting the Sockers onto the scoreboard. The Sockers would strike again after John Sosa collected a rebounded pass off the board and blasted it past Miranda to make the score 3-2.
A blue card given to de Abreu for contact above the shoulder gave the Sockers their first power play of the game and they made sure to capitalize on it, with Chiles taking care of business just outside the box. However, both teams were aggravated at the referees and also spat insults at each other whenever they could. Things came to a head after Brandon Escoto got tripped up by Fury defender Andy Reyes, which got Alex Caceras riled up at a few Sockers players, including Luan Oliveira. Peacekeepers jumped to the scene before the scuffle could get really serious and the play was broken up.
However, the blue card meant that a power play was still in effect, and the Fury came very close to killing it off. However, they made the defensive blunder of giving Chiles a wide open shooting lane, and the captain struck with deadly proficiency and stalked away after the goal while his teammates celebrated around him, and the Fury couldn’t do much else with the little time that remained as the second quarter ended with a score of 4-3 San Diego.
42 seconds into the third quarter, the Fury jumped at the opportunity to score as Perez fired a shot that no goalie in the world could have stopped and tied it up for the Fury. This tie wouldn’t last long as Chiles would strike once again, slipping past a defender and rattling a shot into the back of the net for a Sockers goal.
Another 2 on 1 opportunity occurred for the Fury as Perez and de Abreu crossed up Toth with a series of passes and de Abreu would clean up for the goal, tying the game back up. This would be followed up by Perez weaving his way through defenders much like a snake would weave through a garden, and his shot sailed past Toth and scored another goal as the Fury took the lead. The final minute of the period saw Cerda take a pass from Toth and take a shot that skidded across the ground and off the gloves of Miranda for a San Diego goal and the game would be tied 6-6 at the end of the period.
As the fourth period ticked away, Toth watched as an Ontario’ shot sailed too high to be considered worrisome. When he got the ball back, he slung a pass to Tovar, who began to run with the ball and used his momentum to hammer a shot past Miranda and retake the lead for the Sockers. Ontario tried to put more pressure on San Diego, who looked to hang on to their one goal lead, and hang on they did. Tempers ultimately flared late after a marvelous goal by Oliveira, who twisted sideways in midair to crack a shot into the right side of the goal. Israel Sesay, who had drawn contact from Chiles before the goal, took a swing towards the San Diego captain and, while not a power punch, ruffled some feathers amongst the San Diego team.
Nonetheless, the Sockers got revenge against their new rivals with a score of 8-6. They travel to Turlock on Friday to take on the Turlock Express, which can be watched live from the official YouTube page of the MASL at MASL.tv.