Three games in four days is a tall order for any team. The San Diego Sockers (3-2) did all of that while playing in an arena nearly 2,500 miles from home.
Yet, despite losing their first match to the Ontario Fury on Feb. 18, the Sockers rallied to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Florida Tropics on Feb. 19.
On Sunday, four different players scored for San Diego against the Tacoma Stars (2-4), then held the line against their six-man attack for a 4-2 victory.
The game remained deadlocked at zero as both offenses struggled to gain momentum. San Diego’s offense has only scored 3.40 goals per game, but their defense has been keeping them into matches with 3.60 goals per game.
San Diego broke the scoreless tie in the second quarter. A long pass from Boris Pardo bounced off the walls and into the vicinity of Brandon Escoto. Escoto sent a searing strike to Chris Toth, who blocked the shot but didn’t control the ball. As the bill tipped off his fingers, Gerardo Jurardo kicked the ball in midair into the back of the net for a goal.
While Tacoma focused their defensive pressure inside the box to eliminate the Sockers’ offensive opportunity, it left them open to other shots outside the box. Leonardo de Oliviera, who was facing pressure off a double team, sent a pass to Mitchell Cardenas at the yellow line. Facing traffic, Cardenas’ long shot from the yellow line passed a diving Toth to extend San Diego’s lead to two.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Tacoma’s Cory Keitz earned him a blue card from the referee and a two-minute power play for San Diego. Thanks to this, Kraig Chiles got his first goal of the season off a one-touch shot from the middle of the box.
— San Diego Sockers (@SanDiegoSockers) February 21, 2021
The Sockers and Pardo continued to pitch a shutout until the third quarter, when Phillip Lund broke Tacoma’s scoreless streak. A bouncing ball of the toe of a defender bounded past Pardo for the second Stars’ goal, putting the score at 3-2.
While the defense bent in the third quarter, they would not break. The trio of Guerrero Pino, Cesar Cerda, and Cardenas kept Tacoma at bay, and a goal from Christian Gutierrez put away the pesky Stars for good.
At 3-2, San Diego is now over .500 and sits in third place in the MASL. They will face the St. Loius Ambush on Feb. 26.