by Ian Cook

SAN DIEGO (January 8, 2017) - With the Pacific Division destiny in their hands, the Sockers showed that they belong at the top of the division. The Sockers defeated rival Ontario Fury by a score of 7-3, the second consecutive win over the Fury. The victory was a perfect way for the Sockers to start the second half of the season and continue the #Questfor15 championships. San Diego Sockers move to 8W-3L on the season while the Ontario Fury fall to a 4W-5L record on the season.

San Diego native Juan “Johnny” Topete experienced a special moment on the night. Topete scored his first career Sockers goal, at home, against his former team, to open up the scoring. Unfortunately, he had to limp off later in the game after a tough challenge.

Minutes later, Kraig Chiles scored his first of the night off the boards to extend the early 1st quarter lead to 2-0 over the Fury. Kraig Chiles would end the night with a hat-trick of goals (3) after scoring a penalty and a hockey-style shootout attempt in the second half, the “Arena Hat-Trick Special.” His three-goal performance earned him “Player of the Game “ honors.

For the Fury, Nick Perera continued to produce points against the Sockers. Perera scored a beautiful volley that no keeper in the world could stop and also tallied an assist. However, it was not enough as the Sockers played a complete defensive game and limited the Fury to only 3 goals.

Head Coach Phil Salvagio said, "We played well. Guys were flying on both sides of the ball…blocking shots and getting to the ball first constantly. I think we looked solid all over the field. It’s a big win for us in the division, but we are moving our attention to the next game at home versus Kansas City.” 

The Sockers continue to play strong at home, keeping their perfect record intact on the season. A major reason is the play of Goalkeeper Chris Toth. His 16 save performance was dominant and crucial to shutting down the potent Fury offense. Toth continues to lead the Major Arena Soccer League in Save Percentage (.797) and is only allowing 4.04 Goals per Game on average.

Max Touloute scored his league leading 3rd shorthanded goal on the season on a breakaway against a 6thattacker. Meanwhile, Forward Erick Tovar and Midfielder Luan Oliviera chipped in the balance of the Sockers’ 7 goals against the Ontario Fury.