San Diego, California
The San Diego Sockers (3-0) remain perfect this season after an impressive 8-3 win over the Tacoma Stars (1-2) in front of 3,196 fans at Valley View Casino Center. Captain Kraig Chiles led the charge with four goals, and goalkeeper Boris Pardo earned his paycheck by making 12 saves and anchoring the Sockers’ efforts on defense.
The Stars began the game in attack mode and caught the Sockers off guard, as Joey Gjertson snuck past the defense and collected the first goal of the day for the Stars. With the Stars playing keep away much of the first quarter, the Sockers had a tough time getting their offense in gear. However, Tacoma was kept away from the goal thanks to strong defensive play by Luis Ortega and Cesar Cerda. San Diego would pick its shot carefully though, as Felipe Gonzales took a pass from John Sosa and shot a beauty toward the top left corner of the goal, whizzing past Stars goalkeeper Danny Waltman, tying the score 1-1.
The Stars increased the intensity in the next quarter, attacking the San Diego defense like a swarm of angry hornets. Unfortunately for them, Pardo initiated his best brick wall impersonation, and blocked every shot the Stars sent at them.
Ramone Palmer’s shot finally slipped past Boris’ defenses, but thanks to a tripping call on a Star, the goal was nullified and the score remained tied. San Diego, on the other hand, still saw their offense stall as their passes kept getting intercepted or missed their mark. One such pass from Gonzales went against the backboard, but Chiles was in position to receive it, and grappled with a Tacoma defender for the ball. He would keep possession and blast the ball right pass Waltman to give the Sockers the lead. Chiles would strike again on a free kick with less than five seconds in the quarter, but this time he deked out the defenders and the goalie with a slight hesitation before casually booting the ball into a wide open net, giving San Diego a 3-1 advantage going into the half.
The third quarter pf play began with another goal by the Stars, as Phillip Lund fought off a Sockers defender and the ball past Pardo cutting the Sockers lead to one. Brandon Escoto, after a solid offensive play, was slammed into the wall near the Tacoma goal and was down for a few minutes. After receiving attention from the San Diego trainer, he was cleared to play and entered back into the game. This particular play led to the teams getting quite friendly with each other, as Palmer and Chiles would exchange words after a clash for the ball. Palmer took this exchange a little too seriously and pushed Chiles to the ground while the two fought for the ball, and the referees rewarded Palmer by sending him to the penalty box to serve a two-minute blue card penalty. San Diego would make Tacoma pay for Palmer’s roughness, as Matt Clare found Chiles wide open in front of the goal and the San Diego captain took care of the rest, slamming the ball in the back of the net to complete the hat trick.
San Diego would keep its foot on the gas pedal in the fourth quarter as Brandon Escoto swiped the ball away from a Star, stumbled away from him, passed it off Max Toulette, who then found Erick Tovar with nothing but green in front of him. Tovar shot a cannon past Waltman, and the Stars began to show some weariness as they fell behind 5-2. After another Chiles goal, the Stars finally got some offense going as Evan Mcneley snuck one past Pardo’s outstretched hands and celebrated a goal. Luan Olivieri would shut down any happiness the Stars were feeling, slicing past the Tacoma defense and notching another goal for the Sockers. San Diego would add one more and sent their inter-conference rivals packing with an 8-3 win.
Chiles said he felt good and that “you know its gonna be a good day (when) you’re mentally and physically into the game,” while also praising his midfielders for making the extra pass when they could and said the game was a must win that had “playoff implications down the road”. Pardo knew the Stars were going to gun right for him and “knew they were going to go fast on transitions and stay man-to-man, but they’re also a team that they get a lot of shots off”, while also stating that he was proud of his experienced defense for toughing it out throughout the game.
The Sockers have another tough game on their schedule next Sunday, November 19, 5:05 p.m. as they play host to the Ontario Fury. It will be Give Thanks night and the first 2,500 fans will get a nifty Sockers Tote Bag free of charge. The gates open at 4:00 p.m. and parking is always on the house, so come on down to watch some truly spectacular soccer.