Coming into Sunday’s game against the San Diego Sockers, Franck Tayou led the MASL with 15 goals scored. A whopping 13 of those came in the past three games.
Tayou scored once in the third quarter on a ball that skittered away from the hands of goalkeeper Boris Pardo.
It was the only goal he would score in the game as the physical Sockers defense and a Herculean effort from Pardo kept the Ontario Fury at bay as the Sockers defeated their conference rivals 4-3.
“He’s (Tayou) strong, so we had to put our strongest defenders on him,” commented Pardo after the match. “We had to make sure the changes were right, timely, and with no mistakes made.”
With Hiram Ruiz, Kraig Chiles, and Luis Ortega out with various injuries, the Sockers had to get crafty on offense. Stepping up to the plate on both sides of the ball was Taylor Bond, whose physical playstyle shook the Fury on defense and stirred up the Sockers’ offense.
The midfielder showed some fancy footwork with his first-quarter goal, sidestepping Nestor Hernandez and cracking a shot past Chris Toth with cold-blooded precision. Bond scored a second goal in the second quarter after Brian Farber found him streaking towards the Ontario goal. The ensuing long pass was toe-poked out of the air by Bond and into the Ontario goal for Bond’s second goal.
Ontario didn’t make life easy for San Diego. A power play in the second quarter put the Sockers down a man, and Justin Stinson took advantage of it, placing a shot right between Pardo’s legs for a goal. He scored again minutes later as, after a Raymundo Contreras turnover, Stinson cashed in for his seventh goal of the season.
Slavisa Ubiparipovic gave the Sockers a temporary lead in the third quarter, but Tayou’s aforementioned goal tied the game at three goals apiece.
An unlikely source netted what became the San Diego goal. Luis Piffer, who had taken only three shots on goal all season after today’s game, received a pass from Bond and slammed home the winning shot. San Diego ran out the clock to win their seventh game in a row.
The three goals allowed were the lowest amount scored by an opposing team since December 15th when San Diego beat the Soles de Sonora 6-3. Pardo’s 17 saves were crucial, but the defense did their job in cooling a white-hot Tayou and stuffing Ontario in the final minutes of the game.
San Diego now has a firm grasp on second place in the Western Conference as they head into a crucial bye week, where they hope some R&R will get the rest of their team healthy before a brutal six-game road trip.