The San Diego Sockers (10-1) saw their 10-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the second place Ontario Fury (7-6) as Chris Toth suffered his first loss in the goal and San Diego starts off their stretch of three games in four days on a sour note.
The game started off on a positive note for the Sockers as Luan Oliviera put the home team up with an early goal thanks to a pass from Cesar Cerda. However the Fury would come right back, as Adrien Perez slipped past the Sockers’ defense unnoticed and shot a dribbler right past Toth to tie up the game.
Perez would strike again on a free kick after the ball was headbutted out of bounds by the Sockers. After receiving a pass, he struck a blister past a wall of Sockers players and a diving Toth to give the Fury an advantage. Going into the second quarter of play, the Sockers found themselves in a position they hadn’t found themselves in quite a long time; down going into the second quarter, as the Fury had the 2-1 lead.
With the Sockers already down, they needed quick goals to come back and tie the game up. Unfortunately, Fury captain Israel Sesay crossed up Toth and the Sockers’ defense and put a shot into the back of the net. San Diego would play a man down after Max Toullete was caught for elbowing, and would then lose him for more time after debating the call and earning a yellow card, meaning five minutes in the penalty box. This wouldn’t stop Hiram Ruiz from charging down the field and putting a well-placed shot past rookie goalkeeper Jose Miranda.
After a great save by Toth and a bit of luck, the Sockers were able to get the ball out of their side of the field and storm down the pitch as Erick Tovar capitalized on the momentum by hitting a ground ball past a sliding Miranda to tie the game up for the Sockers. However, San Diego blundered on defense as Juan Carlos Gonzales slipped past three defenders and Toth to score and give the Fury the advantage. Going into the half, the Sockers would be down Brandon Escoto after he was caught tripping and were at the disadvantage, 4-3.
The Sockers were able to kill the power play coming into the third quarter and came out swinging, blasting shot after shot. The Fury, not to be outdone, came after Toth at their own pace, with Sesay nearly getting by Toth with some footwork. After an Ontario blue card, the Sockers had a golden opportunity to put points on the board and fired shot after shot, but each one was off the mark. Ontario killed off the power play, but after a stolen ball by Toulette, Chiles was able to score from the box to tie the game up at four goals a piece. The score would remain the same going into the final quarter as the third quarter remained tight throughout.
Ontario would begin pulling away in the fourth quarter due to breakdowns by the San Diego defense and some calls that went against them. Ontario was able to find a man wide open in the middle of the box and put up an early goal. Shortly after, Chiles was tangled up with an Ontario defender and a reset was called. Chiles tried to chip the ball over the head of the downed Fury, but it bounced of the defender’s head and Chiles was flagged with a blue card. Chiles and Miranda then started to argue back and forth and Ruiz got into the heat of things by arguing with the referee. The referee, none too pleased with the debating, slapped Ruiz with a yellow card for dissent, meaning the Sockers would endure a power play with both Chiles and Ruiz in the penalty box.
The Fury would score on what could only be a questionable call as the ball seemingly halfway-crossed the line of the box, but the side judge deemed it a goal and sirens blared signalling the goal. All of the Sockers players went towards the glass to protest the call and were very angry, with the referee forced to intervene to break up the shouting. A third goal was scored after Corey Maret was not picked up by a defender and left wide open for a shot opportunity, which he took advantage of and blasted a shot past Toth.
The Sockers would put up a valiant fight until the end, employing John Sosa in the goal as a sixth attacker and even finding the back of the net thanks to a Chiles goal, but the Fury held strong and even put up one last goal to hang on and hand the Sockers their first loss of the season with a score of 8-5.
The Sockers will look to keep their emotions in check and tighten the screws on defense as they travel to Sonora, Mexico to take on the Soles de Sonora on January 20, 6:05 p.m. and return to San Diego the next day to have a rematch with the Fury at 5:05 p.m.. The Sockers can be watched lived thanks to the MASL YouTube page at MASL.tv, so make sure to tune in to root for your Sockers on their quest for championship number 15.