Well, here we are again. Another Sunday in January, another I-15 Derby for the fans to feast on. After blowing a 3-0 lead to lose 6-3, the Ontario Fury made the comeback this time. Down 5-1 late in the 2nd quarter, Ontario roared back against a listless Sockers’ 2nd half effort to win 8-7 in overtime.
This week, for the rubber match in this “best of three” series, the scenery changes. The Fury will be hosting the San Diego Sockers at the site of the 2021 Ron Newman Cup finals, the Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA. San Diego will be on the road for the first time this calendar year, which is the start of a 4-game road trip, with their only other road match being a 10-7 victory in Kent, WA, over the Tacoma Stars.
The Sockers are going to need to play a full 60 to pick up the win this time around. Last Sunday, the team came out flat and on the back foot out of the locker room and never truly bossed the game around for long periods of time like they did in the 1st half.
Just to make this even more important, San Diego plays six games in the next 14 days. With how the MASL Playoffs are structured this season, points are even more important than ever. Three points at this point are not a season killer, but a win on Sunday will start the next fortnight out properly.
For the Fury, it will be hard to see Franck Tayou hold without a goal for three-straight games, something that’s never happened in his indoor career. The goalkeeper situation will be interesting to see as Ontario played extremely differently with Chris Toth in goal compared to Claysson De Lima. Expect to see a classic battle between Toth and Pardo, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Good news for the Sockers is that no one on the team is currently set to be sidelined due to health and safety protocols. This however does not mean the Sockers will be at full strength. Brandon Escoto, dealing with an ankle injury, has been practicing all week and will travel with the team. He scored last Sunday but the team will be hopeful that he will be able to contribute more this Sunday. Felipe Gonzalez is still nursing a hamstring injury and is not expected to travel with the club. Captain Kraig Chiles is having a calf issue but is also expected to play.
The third edition of the I-15 Derby will kick-off at 3:05 PST on Sunday, Jan 16 and can be watched for free on YouTube here.