The two hottest teams met on Sunday night as the San Diego Sockers (16-0-1, 45 pts) hosted the Chihuahua Savage (7-6-2, 21 pts).
Chihuahua has really turned a corner after starting their season with seven straight losses, but they ran into the well-oiled machine called the Sockers.
Boris Pardo and the Sockers defense shined brightly, going up against the second-best scoring offense in the MASL. Pardo continued his streak of letting in three or less goals, extending it to seven straight games. Pardo lowered his goals-against average (GAA) to 4.13 on the season, good for second in the MASL.
Captain Kraig Chiles put in a three-point performance getting a brace and adding an assist. Chiles was the one to get the scoring going after a bit of confusion on a ball going out of play. Chihuahua thought the ball was theirs, but the referees deemed it Sockers ball, and two quick passes later, the ball ended up on Chiles’ foot and subsequently the back of the net.
The Savage seemed to have answers for any Sockers attack in the first half of the contest. Chihuahua defended in numbers, swarming to the ball constantly, moving the ball with pace, and getting bodies in front of shots or forcing shots wide.
Chihuahua answered Chiles’ goal with a solo goal from Uriel Zuart and looked to be going into the half with the score tied at one. Cesar Cerda would change that with less than two minutes remaining in the half with a shot that rocked the back frame of the goal.
Coming out of the halftime break, both teams were going back and forth with lots of good offensive passing and quality defensive pressure. The Savage would finally tie the game back up after a shot went high, and Hugo Puentes headed home the rebound, giving Pardo no chance to keep it out. Chiles, however, made sure that the lead was restored when the Sockers went on the power play. San Diego’s league-leading power play was two for two on the night and raised the percentage up to 61% on the season with 22 goals.
The fourth quarter was an exhibition of defensive power and offensive efficiency for the Sockers. San Diego scored three goals on four shots and four blocked shots. Chihuahua pushed hard to get back within one after Charlie Gonzalez scored early in the quarter, but the Sockers stood tall and refused to let in anything.
After the Sockers made it a 5-2 game through Leonardo De Oliviera, things escalated as a scuffle led to Roberto Escalante getting sent off and Brandon Escoto receiving a yellow. From there, the play was more physical, but the game was not in doubt for the Sockers. Charlie Gonzalez would put the game at the final score of 6-2 with second left in the game. This marks the 13th win in a row for San Diego.
San Diego will be on the road for the next weekend of games, visiting Baltimore and Utica City within 24 hours of each other.
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The Sockers will be playing at the SECU Arena in Baltimore against the Blast at 3:05 PM PST on Saturday and then will need to travel to upstate New York to Utica and the Adirondack Bank Center for a matinee 11 am PST kickoff. Both games will be available to watch on the MASLtv YouTube page. The next home game for San Diego will be on March 20 against the Tacoma Stars, and you can purchase tickets online or call the Sockers at 866-799-4625.
Born and raised in Point Loma, to a passionate soccer loving, Portuguese family and was raised with an even bigger love of the sport. Being from San Diego, he has a deep love for all of our hometown sports, but soccer is truly where his heart lies. He played the game from an early age through High School and even tried his hand at coaching the Point Loma High School Girls Soccer team. He has been a Loud and Loyal supporter of many clubs over the years, making his voice heard in many a chants behind the goal for the Sockers, the Loyal, and the Men’s and Women’s National Teams when they have played in our great city. He even met his wife of two years, through their joint love of soccer. You could say that every part of his life has always involved soccer.