by Ian Cook

The Sockers’ #questfor15 championships is on the line this Saturday March 25th in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Sockers will face Soles de Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico at 7:05pm for a bid to the 2017 Major Arena Soccer League Finals. 

After falling 7-3 in San Diego on March 19th, the Sockers face the unenviable task of winning in Sonora, against a team that has not lost at home all season. Sockers will have to win the second game of the Western Conference series and also win the (potential) 15 minute mini-game to advance to the Major Arena Soccer League Finals, where historic rival Baltimore Blast awaits.   

Sockers Head Coach Phil Salvagio saw some encouraging signs from his squad this week. Salvagio thinks the squad is ready and willing to push for a MASL final's spot.   

“We’re pissed. We had great chances. That’s why we play the game, you never know what’s going to happen.” – Phil Salvagio, Head Coach

If there is any team that can upset the top seeded Soles in Hermosillo, it’s the Sockers. Last season, the Sockers earned a 13-10 win in Hermosillo to force a Game 3, but eventually fell in the mini-game. The Sockers will be looking to force a series deciding mini-game again this season.

Soles de Sonora scored a total of 230 goals in the 2016-17 MASL regular season, 146 of which were at home (63.4%). This season, the Sockers were the only team to keep the Soles under double digit goals at home, and did so twice this season.

Every Sockers player will need to produce their best game(s) of the season, especially key players Kraig Chiles and Chris Toth. Star Forward Kraig Chiles, held scoreless in his last two matches, will be feverishly looking to get back on the scoresheet. Similarly, Goalkeeper Chris Toth will need to replicate his form from January, where he earned Goalkeeper of the Month honors.  

On the other side of arena, the Soles de Sonora have the league’s top goalscorer Frank Tayou and the most potent offense in the league. Tayou led the league with 57 goals in the regular season, also chipping in 15 assists. Sockers kept Tayou mostly in check in San Diego, only allowing him to score 1 goal (against 6thattacker).