Pechanga Arena- San Diego, California
The San Diego Sockers lost one game all of last year.
This year, they got their first loss right off the bat. In their home opener. To the Turlock Cal Express. Whose 2018-2019 record was and got outscored by San Diego 54-11 last season.
Turlock certainly got good this season. After signing Juan Manuel Rojo and Juan Gonzales away from the Sockers, Turlock went ahead and beat Kansas City in their season opener.
Now, they sit at 2-0 after beating San Diego 7-6 at Pechanga Arena.
Netting the first goal of the season for San Diego was Brian Farber, who exposed and out-of-position Edgar Martinez to put the ball in the back net.
Turlock then did something they hadn’t done all of last season against San Diego; fight back. Juan Manuel Rojo snuck a shot past Boris Pardo, and Gerardo Jurado took advantage of a mismatch to put the Express ahead 2-1.
Despite two goals from Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz and Luis “Pee Wee” Ortega, Turlock was able to stay ahead with two goals in the second quarter to stay ahead of San Diego.
The Express took advantage of defensive miscues by the Sockers in the first half as they frequently found an open man or found themselves in a position that should’ve been covered by the Sockers.
The Sockers and the Cal Express swapped a pair of third-quarter goals, including Emmanuel Aguirre’s first career goal as a Socker after he was left alone on a two-and-one play with Cesar Cerda.
The loss of Rojo stung the Sockers, and he was playing with a chip on his shoulder all game. That chip was a significant factor in him in the fourth quarter for this game as his curving shot in the fifth minute and toe-tapper in the tenth got him a hat trick for the game and effectively put the Sockers away for good.
After multiple missed opportunities, Brandon Escoto connected for a goal at the corner of the crease while Kraig Chiles nutmegged an Express defender to score his first goal of the season to make the game 7-6.
With the Sockers turning up the pressure right after the Chiles’ goal, the unthinkable happened with a little over a minute left in the game; a blue card was handed out to Farber. The striker was sprinting down the field, trying to field a ball and crashed into Martinez, who was also trying to clear the ball.
The blue card was immediately waved amidst an orchestra of boos from Pechanga Arena. Farber, who plays with his heart on his sleeve, got a yellow card after agreeing with (and encouraging) the fans and not the referees.
Even with Ruiz put in place of Pardo to balance out the man loss, Turlock rode out the storm and kept the Sockers away from the hobbled Martinez to secure the win and hand the Sockers a rare home loss.
The Sockers will be on the road next week as they take on their inter-conference rivals, the Tacoma Stars.