by Craig Elsten/Sockers

The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—conclude a three-match homestand by hosting the Tacoma Stars on Frontline Workers Night at Pechanga Arena San Diego for the second of three scheduled visits this season. The match is set for a 5:05pm kickoff, and will be broadcast for free live on MASL TV on YouTube.

This is the third of six meetings between the Sockers and Stars. San Diego is 2-0 so far, opening the season with a 10-7 win in Tacoma on December 11, and continuing the trend with a 9-3 victory on January 28. The clubs will re-convene for back-to-back matches in Tacoma next weekend, then face each other a final time on March 20 in San Diego.

The Sockers (9-0-1, 25 points) are on a six-match winning streak, including an 8-3 over Utica City FC in their previous outing on Sunday, January 30. Having recently concluded a stretch of five matches in ten days, San Diego will begin a flurry of three road matches in five days after this brief respite at home, facing Tacoma on December 11 and 12, and Ontario on December 15.

Last week saw the Sockers pull out three victories: one wild road comeback, and two convincing home results. San Diego trailed on Wednesday, January 26 at Ontario by scores of 4-0 and 5-1 in the first half, and 7-4 in the fourth quarter, only to rally and tie the match at 7-7 on Tavoy Morgan’s goal with six attackers and 1:19 remaining. After a scoreless overtime, the Sockers prevailed 2-0 in the three-round shootout to claim a third victory over Ontario, and 9 of the 12 standings points up for grabs so far in the season series.

Back at home last weekend, San Diego enjoyed two relatively lopsided wins. On Friday, January 28, the Sockers got a goal and three assists from Tavoy Morgan in a 9-3 win over the Stars. Juan-Manuel Rojo netted two goals in the Tacoma win, then added two more with two assists in an 8-3 victory over Utica, earning MASL Offensive Player of the Week honors.

The Sockers played the weekend without starting goalkeeper Boris Pardo, who was suspended for two matches after a MASL review of a challenge in the box against Ontario on January 26. Rookie Xavier Snaer-Williams made his first two career starts in net successful ones, blocking 23 of 29 shots and holding his opponent to three goals in both matches. Snaer-Williams added an assist on Sunday, and was named MASL Defensive Player of the Week. Pardo is expected to return to net on Sunday against Tacoma.

Tacoma (3-5-0, 8 points) emerged from their loss in San Diego to put together one of their best efforts of the season, rallying from a late 7-5 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, then posting an OT shootout 8-7 win over the Ontario Fury at Toyota Arena. The Stars enter the weekend two points out of the 8th and final playoff position in the MASL standings. Long-time scoring leader Nick Perera powers the Tacoma attack with (13-11=24) points in eight matches, but was shut out in San Diego his last time here. Alessandro Canale has 10 goals and 13 points for Tacoma. Danny Waltman has a 6.93 GAA and .635 save percentage in net, starting all eight matches.