The San Diego Sockers (12-3) put up a strong fight, but even with captain Kraig Chiles and Chris Toth on rest, they couldn’t come up in the clutch moments against the undefeated Monterrey Flash (15-0). Even with the 6-3 loss, the Sockers’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at three.
Monterrey was quick to attack the San Diego defense, but they held resilient. However, off of a reset penalty on Eduardo Velez, Omar Santillan was able to take a pass and quickly swipe the ball right past Toth to give the Flash the early lead. The Sockers would strike right back when Max Toullete passed to an open Erick Tovar in the middle of the box, and Tovar quickly snapped a shot past goalkeeper Diego Reynoso to tie the game up.
While both teams had their scoring chances, none of them came to pass. Things did get chippy late in the period as John Sosa and Carlos Farias started getting in each other’s faces, with Sosa even giving him a chest pound. Whether it was friendly or not, the score would stay tied going into the second period.
The second began much like the first, as the Sockers would hunker down against the impending Flash offense. But thanks to a little bit of back and forth passing between Chiles and Luan Oliveira, Chiles would put one in the back of the net to give San Diego a lead.
The following ten minutes of the game were filled with missed shots and defensive saves. The Sockers had an opportunity to score when Matt Clare lined up a shot, but he didn’t notice Chiles waving his arms with a better shot at a better angle. Clare missed the shot, but was quick to hustle back on defense and prevent any damage being done. The game would go into the half with the Sockers leading 2-1.
The third quarter is where the Flash began to take off for the win, as Santillan took a shot that Toth couldn’t handle, tying the game back up for the Flash. Chiles and Sosa would take shots on the goal, but they were either wide or blocked. This is also the time that both teams would get hit with blue cards as Tovar and Edgar Flores would spend time in the penalty box for tripping and pushing, respectively.
Even though the power plays would both be killed off with no harm done, the Flash would still pull ahead thanks to two goals by Santillan, one coming from just across midfield and another that bounced beneath the crossbar, behind Toth’s back, back up to the crossbar, and somehow landing in the back of the net. However, even though the Flash would lead 4-2 going into the final period of play, Santillan was charged for pushing and was forced to sit in the penalty box. Clare would also get caught for tripping and would spend time in the box.
The fourth period began in a bad way for San Diego as they lost Felipe Gonzales to a yellow card for dissent after he spent much of the intermission arguing with the referees. They would give up a quick goal after Edgar Gonzales punched one past Toth. The growing tensions between the two teams came to a head after Velez and Farias came face to face barking at each other like a couple of angry dogs. Both were sent off to the penalty box for two minutes to cool off while both teams would play with four men and a keeper.
While the power plays would be killed off, the Sockers would begin a six-man attack strategy with John Sosa as keeper/attacker. The ploy worked as soon after Toth was subbed back in, Clare hit a screamer right past the Flash goalkeeper to bring the Sockers closer to the lead. But with Sosa back in, Flores hit a potshot that sailed into an open net and the Flash would hang on to remain undefeated.
The Sockers will finally get some rest with a well-earned by week. They will pick up play against the third place Tacoma Stars on Friday, February 9, 7:05 p.m. The Sockers return to Valley View Casino Center on Sunday, February 11, 5:05 p.m. against Sonora for a special night as it will feature the annual Sockers’ Alumni Game at halftime, where over 30 legends, champions, and alumni will participate. Parking is free, as it is for every home game, and can be watched on the MASL’s official YouTube page at MASL.tv.