The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—begin a season-long four-match homestand when they take on the Kansas City Comets on Sunday evening at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The match is set for a 5:05pm kickoff, and will be streamed live on Twitch channel @masl_soccer, and simulcast in Spanish on
The Sockers (14-2, 40 points), owners of the best record in MASL history all-time at 163-33-5, are the first team in the league to clinch a spot in the Ron Newman Cup playoffs for 2024. The Sock-ers have won the first two MASL Supporters Shields, awarded to the club with the league’s best regular season record. Their 14-2 record is the best through fifteen matches in the West but trails 16-0 Monterrey in the East. San Diego is 59-4-1 over the last 2 1/2 regular seasons (64 matches).
This is the first of two meetings between the Sockers and Comets this season. The two sides will reconvene in Kansas City for a match on March 23. These two franchises have locked boots da-ting back to 1982-83 in the MISL, continuing since the formation of the MASL in 2014. The all-time series record favors San Diego 37-21, including a 4-0 all-time playoff series record. In the MASL, Kansas City is 3-2 against the Sockers, with the Comets taking the first three and the Sockers the last two.
San Diego completed a busy and challenging week with three wins in six days from February 13 to February 18. On Tuesday the 13th, the Sockers held off a feisty Texas Outlaws side 5-4, scoring the match-winning goal with 1:31 remaining. Texas played without their top five scorers, but in-match injuries to Sockers stars Tavoy Morgan and Charlie Gonzalez left the home side similarly short-handed. On Thursday the 15th, San Diego overcame their injury woes to post an 8-4 win over the Outlaws at Pechanga Arena, with Brandon Escoto and Felipe Gonzalez each netting a pair of goals. Sunday the 18th brought a road trip up to Ontario to take on the Empire Strykers. The Sockers built an early 5-1 lead but saw the younger Strykers take advantage of two more San Diego injuries and a short-handed roster, coming back to eventually tie the match 8-8 in the final minute of regulation. After ten minutes of scoreless overtime, a three-round shootout was used to decide the outcome. Kraig Chiles scored a goal in the first round, and goalkeeper Boris Pardo stopped all three shooters he faced to secure a 9-8 victory.
Kansas City (8-6-4, 28 points) has fallen hard after starting the season 7-1, with losses in nine of their last ten matches. Although the Comets are still in fourth place in the MASL Eastern Division, their seven-point lead over Baltimore is clouded by the fact that the Blast have four matches in hand on the Comets. Kansas City is 3-5-1 on the road, with all six losses coming on a road trip from January 14-February 4. Forward Zach Reget leads the Comets with 24 goals, a total that ranks second in the league (Luiz Morales, TEX: 26). Kansas City is playing without second-leading scorer John Sosa, who ranks second in the MASL with 17 assists. His playmaking role has been taken over by Ignacio “Nacho” Flores, who has (11-12=23) points on the season. De-fender Robert Palmer leads the Comets—and the MASL—with 62 blocked shots. Nicolau Neto has started 14 matches in net for KC, posting an 8-3-4 record with a 4.64 GAA and .754 SV%.