The San Diego Sockers (2-0) came back home for the first time this season and gave the rambunctious 3,318 fans quite the show. Matt Clare’s clutch goal with 41 seconds remaining and some steadfast defense gave San Diego a 6-5 victory over the visiting Syracuse Silver Knights (1-1).
Syracuse took an early lead in the first quarter as Slavisa Ubiparipovic scored in the first 49 seconds to give the Silver Knights the lead.
However, he would pick up an early yellow card after some back talk to the referee. Other than the one goal, the Sockers played exceptionally tough defense as both Brandon Escoto and Cesar Cerda played physically in their own territory. The Sockers would get on the board when Chris Toth, who already made a couple of nice saves, shot a pass to Cerde, who burst forth and scored to make it 1-1.
The Silver Knights were quick to score in the second quarter, as Nick Perera found some space and rifled a pass through Toth and scored. However, Joey Tavernese was caught tripping and the Sockers were gifted with a power play. They made the most of it as Brandon Escoto, who nearly missed a goal in the first quarter, stripped the ball away from a Syaracuse ball handler and sprinted past the defense to score a nice goal and tie the game.
With the Sockers continuing to push the ball forward, Silver Knight goalie Andrew Coughlin was busy making tough saves and keeping his team in check. He couldn’t prevent the Silver Knights from having too many men on the pitch at once though, and another power play was gifted to San Diego. Captain Kraig Chiles was more than happy to take advantage, as he took a pass from Matt Clare and shot a missile into the goal, giving San Diego a 3-2 lead going into the half.
With a power play going due to a Raymundo Reza penalty in the second, the Sockers began the third quarter with a disadvantage, but solid defense from Cerda helped San Diego kill the power play. Kenardo Forbes would tie the game on his own after swiping the ball from Esoto, snaking it past him, and scoring to make it 3-3. Chiles would change this with a slick goal of his own off an assist by Clare to give San Diego the lead 4-3.
The fourth quarter was not as friendly as the Sockers, with only three men on the field due to blue card penalties, allowed Tavernese to tie the game up. The Silver Knights would give up that lead due to some faulty passing, as an own goal made the game 5-4 in the Sockers favor. Tavernese came back to haunt the Sockers again though, as he pilfered the ball away from a defender and scored on his own rebounded shot. With the clock winding down to the final seconds, it took Clare’s clutch goal and one last defensive stand to finally put Syracuse away.
Clare called it a “pretty special moment” to get the final goal in the last minute and called the win at home “a good start to have” and was especially appreciative of the home crowd. Toth applauded the opposing goalkeeper Coughlin and admitted that “there were a couple of opportunities (to score)…but their goalie made a couple of really nice saves”. Chiles called the win “a good momentum builder and swing for us” but said that his team “could’ve been better for three quarters (so) we don’t have to play like that in the fourth”, citing that the team still needed to gel a little bit, but he expressed faith that the team would get better every week of the season and peak right as the playoffs start.
San Diego gets to stay home for their next game against the Tacoma Stars on Sunday, November 12, at 5:05 p.m.
That night is also PJ/onesie game and the first 2,500 fans get free cell phone credit card holders, while parking will be on the house, as it always is.