For two quarters, neither the San Diego Sockers nor the Florida Topics could unlock their offense.
Drew Ruggles scored the first goal of the game for the Tropics in the final seconds of the first quarter. Tying the game up was Taylor Bond, whose second-quarter goal in the tenth minute gave each team one goal.
It was the Tropics; however, that flexed their offensive muscle in the second quarter as five straight goals stunned the Sockers while the Florida defense held firm against a late rally by the visitors to hand San Diego an 8-5 loss.
Old friend Matt Clare, who had been traded from the Sockers to the Tacoma Stars in 2018, had a field day against his former squad with back-to-back goals in the third quarter. Gordy Guroson led the team with three total points while Victor Parreiras tallied two goals of his own.
Despite a Cesar Cerda goal in the third quarter, the Sockers offense fell flat against a Tropics squad that is currently first in the Eastern Conference. Only the last five minutes saw the Sockers make a desperate gasp for air as Cerda, Hiram Ruiz, and Brandon Escoto scored to cut the Florida lead to three.
Escoto’s goal, however, came with less than fifteen seconds left to play in the game, and the metaphorical fork had already been stuck into the Sockers by that point of the match.
What truly defeated the Sockers was not what the Tropics had accomplished on offense, but their own undiscipline. Escoto, Kraig Chiles, and Slavisa Ubiparipovic each got a dissent penalty in the game, which automatically gifts the offending party with a yellow card. Escoto even had a second one thanks to a delay of game after a time penalty.
Four yellow cards and three blue cards is not a recipe for success, and neither is playing for two to five minutes without a key striker. San Diego must play more disciplined soccer, especially as the season is heading into its halfway point.
With today’s loss to the Tropics, the Sockers have finished their road trip at an even .500. San Diego collected wins against the Orlando SeaWolves, Harrisburg Heat, and Soles de Sonora. The losses came against the Baltimore Blast, Monterrey Flash, and the aforementioned Tropics.
San Diego will finally be getting a home match after spending nearly two weeks leapfrogging to three different states with a visit across the border sandwiched in between. San Diego will be squaring off with the Blast, who previously beat them 9-5 on the second game of the Sockers’ road trip.