The San Diego Sockers (5-0) stayed undefeated Friday night as they defeated the Tacoma Stars (2-3) 4-3. Boris Pardo and the defense held down the fort when it mattered, and Kraig Chiles scored two goals and an assist to continue his hot start to the season.
The game’s first quarter saw a defensive chess match as both teams took shot at each other, but nobody could find the back of the net. The Stars had an early opportunity to score a goal, but couldn’t get past a wall of Sockers and were forced to leave empty-handed. Six minutes into the game, Hiram Ruiz passed the ball off to Chiles, who then showed off some fancy footwork by dancing around two Stars defenders and scooting the ball past Tacoma goalie Danny Waltman to give the Sockers an early 1-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, Stars player Robert Palmer collided into Brian Farber and sent him sprawling to the ground. This act earned Palmer a blue card and some time in the penalty box, giving San Diego the power play. However, the Sockers couldn’t find the goal and were forced to take the 1-0 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter began slowly as both teams tried to play patient offense to bait the other team into making a move. While Tacoma made many shots, the San Diego defense and Pardo were able to hold off the assault. However, Phillip Lund was able to bypass both Pardo and a wall of Sockers defenders and tie the game up for the Stars at 1-1.
This lead wouldn’t last long as the Sockers sent a barrage of shots towards the Stars. The offense was fast, but the Stars’ defense was able to hold on. Farber was able to get a shot on goal after a backwards pass from Chiles, and the shot whistled by the Stars’ keeper for a San Diego goal.
This lead would last all of thirty seconds as Derek Johnson fought his way through two Sockers defenders and found himself right next to the goal. He took advantage of the opportunity, and his shot just went past Pardo and into the back of the net to tie the game up again at 2-2. Even though the Sockers tried to score one last time, none of their shots found their mark and the score remained tied going into halftime.
Raymundo Reza got the third quarter started with a strong goal after finding some open space, making the game 3-2. The goal came with a bit of luck, as the ball was blocked by Waltman, but the ball bounced off his hands and right into his face, which then proceeded to roll right into the goal. Brandon Escoto would get his chance later, but with a 1 on 1 duel with Waltman, he was unable to get the ball past him and Waltman killed off any chance of scoring.
Tacoma would enter the danger zone after Robert Palmer was handed a blue card for tripping Oliviera (coincidentally, the song “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins played over the PA system while the game was going) and the Sockers were gifted a power play. However, the Stars would extinguish the power play.
The Sockers would then give the Stars a power play after a questionable call by the referees. After a Ray Contreras slide tackle, the referee gave him a blue card. The replay review showed that Contreras made contact with the ball and the Tacoma player dramatically tripped over him. Thanks to the Razzy-worthy acting performance, Contreras was sent off to the penalty box, but thanks to some excellent goalkeeping by Pardo, the Stars were kept off the board and the score remained 4-3.
The fourth quarter saw both teams up the tempo and push for possession. Luis Ortega sprang free with the ball and pelted across the field. Two Tacoma defenders gave chase, but made a terrible mistake; leaving captain Chiles wide open with space in front of him and no one around him. Ortega sent the ball his way and Chiles took care of business, rocketing the ball past a helpless Waltman and giving San Diego a 4-2 lead.
Tacoma wouldn’t go down without a fight and continued to pester the San Diego defense, but just couldn’t find an opening. However, a missed shot forced Pardo to leap to his side to make a block, and Chase Hansen was there to pick up the rebound. With nobody in the goal, Hansen tapped it in, and the score was now 4-3.
As the quarter dwindled to an end, the Stars decided to pull Waltman and go for the six-man offense. However, their last-second shot just missed its mark and the Sockers were able to squeeze out a victory and stay undefeated.
For fans looking for more Sockers action, the Socker 2 development team opens its inaugural MASL 2 season on Sunday at 1:05 PM at Valley View Casino center. Fans must meet at the north entrance at 12:20-12:50 PM to be escorted into the arena for their seating. While the concourse, concessions, and restrooms will be closed, admission is free to go along with the free parking.
The parent Sockers will be playing right after on the same field at 5:05 PM and will be taking on the Sonora Soles. It will be SoCal Soccer Night and the first 2,500 fans receive a free Sockers team poster, which they can have autographed by members of the team after the game. As it is with the Sockers 2 game, parking is free and everything will be open. If you can’t make it to the game, you can always watch the game live on the MASL’s official YouTube account.