Monterrey Flash return to the Ron Newman Cup Championship

by Jeff Husted

MONTERREY (March 18, 2018) - The Ron Newman Cup Championship Final opponents are now set after the Monterrey Flash defeated the San Diego Sockers 6-4 on Sunday night in front of 6,086 fans at Arena Monterrey. Edgar González led all scorers with two goals for the Flash. Four different players scored for the Sockers, with two of Brandon Escoto providing the assist on two of them.

2nd Team All-MASL defender Damian Garcia got the game started. On a Flash restart from beyond the yellow line, Garcia hit a line drive that seemed to have eyes for the back of the net. Knowing the game was just beginning, the Sockers pressured the Flash defense relentlessly. San Diego outshot Monterrey 10-4 in the opening quarter. 

Late in the quarter, Kraig Chiles moved himself into perfect position to deflect a pass off the wall into the goal. Despite the Sockers' high-pressured attack, Chiles was the only one able to find a score for San Diego as the score remained tied 1-1 at the first break.

Monterrey regained the lead less than two minutes into the second quarter. Martin Moreno dug the ball out of the corner, then bounced a pass right to where González was waiting to bury it in the back of the net. Chile Farias added his fourth goal of the playoffs midway through the quarter to make it 3-1 for the hosts. 

San Diego was not done yet, as Hiram Ruiz scored a goal in the final minute of the first half and Luan Oliveira scored another two minutes into the second half to tie the game at 3-3.

With neither side able to get a foothold in the other's offensive third, Monterrey began to pull back into a defensive shell midway through the third period. Sitting five players behind the ball, they let San Diego hold possession at the yellow line. As San Diego tried to find a shooting lane, Monterrey forced the Sockers into errors and jumped on the counter attack. This strategy resulted in goals from González and Omar Santillan and a 5-3 lead for the Flash. 

Keeping the game interesting, San Diego's Erick Tovar found his way on the scoresheet for the third time this postseason. San Diego outshot the Flash 8-3 in the fourth quarter as they pursued the equalizer goal. John Sosa put on the sixth attacker jersey for the Sockers in the final minutes, but a teammate's defensive mistake left him out of the goal when Brayan Aguilar found himself with the ball in front of an open net. Aguilar sealed the Flash victory with the score.

Monterrey's win sets up a rematch of the first-ever MASL Championship when the Flash beat the Baltimore Blast in 2015. The same two teams will face off in a winner-take-all match on March 25, 2018 at 5:05 p.m. CST. The game will be carried live on MASLtv, the streaming home of the Major Arena Soccer League.