SOCKERS HOST DALLAS SIDEKICKS SATURDAY NIGHT
The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—return home to begin the March to the Playoffs, taking on the Dallas Sidekicks Saturday night from Pechanga Arena in San Diego. The match is scheduled for a 7:05pm kickoff, and will be broadcast live on Fox-5 San Diego locally, and streamed live on Twitch on channel @masl_soccer. A Spanish-language broadcast will take place at Canela.tv.
The Sockers (14-2, 41 points) are back from a six-match road trip that covered the final three weekends of February. San Diego fashioned a 4-2 record on the trip, including back-to-back wins last weekend in Mexico. In doing so, the Sockers built a six-point lead in the race for the best record in the Major Arena Soccer League.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sockers and the Sidekicks this season, and San Diego is aiming for a four-match sweep. In the modern PASL/MASL era, the Sockers are 12-3 against Dallas. In the MASL, San Diego has a 11-1 record against the Sidekicks, including eleven straight wins. The last time Dallas beat San Diego was on December 12, 2015, a 9-7 win in Texas. Since then, the Sockers have won seven straight at the Sidekicks’ home, as well as four in a row at Pechanga Arena.
Last weekend, the Sockers became the first club this season to go to Mexico and win both matches on a Chihuahua-to-Monterrey road trip. On Friday night, the Sockers went into one of the league’s toughest home venues, becoming only the second club ever to emerge from Chihuahua with a regulation victory. The 9-8 result was hard-earned, as the Sockers played severely short-handed, and spotted the homestanding Savage an early 2-0 lead. Kraig Chiles paced the San Diego attack with a hat trick and assist, while Leonardo de Oliveira added a goal and two assists. On Sunday, San Diego got past the Monterrey Flash by a 6-3 final score at Arena Monterrey. Boris Pardo made 18/21 saves for his league-leading 14th win, while Chiles once again paced the offense with two goals and an assist. Ismael Rojo added a hat trick at defender.
Dallas (0-13-2) is the only winless team in the MASL, and the Sidekicks are on a franchise-record sixteen-match regular season losing streak. Beset by defections to the revived Mesquite Outlaws in the offseason, the Sidekicks have allowed 14 more goals than any other side (129), while their 69 goals scored is more than only one other (Harrisburg, 60), Dallas averages a four-goal loss. The club is led by veteran midfielder Jamie Lovegrove (8-6=14 points) and 35-year-old rookie goal scorer Alberto Rodriguez (12-1=13 points). The Sidekicks have been lifted by the return from Panama of their key offseason signing, 41-year-old former World Cup performer Blas Pérez, who has six goals in three matches. He returned with another Panamanian World Cup veteran, former Seattle Sounder Román Torres, who has one goal in two matches. Longtime veteran keeper Juan Gamboa (0-9-2, 8.07 GAA) gets little help from his field players.