Sockers look to make it two in a row vs Tacoma

by San Diego Sockers

The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Tacoma Stars in the away leg of a home-and-home series to open the 2023-24 MASL regular season schedule. The match from accesso ShoWare Center is scheduled for a 7:05pm PST kickoff, and will be streamed live on Twitch on channel @masl_soccer.
The Sockers (1-0, 3 points), owners of the best record in MASL history all-time at 150-31-5, are back-to-back winners of the MASL Supporters Shield, awarded to the club with the league’s best regular season record. In 2022-23 the Sockers went 22-2, finishing with five more wins than the next-best team. San Diego is 46-2-1 over the last two regular seasons. The club carries an eleven-match regular-season winning streak over from the past season when the Sockers won their final ten matches.
This is the second of six meetings between the Sockers and Tacoma Stars. San Diego pre-vailed in the season opener for both clubs on Sunday, December 3, earning an 11-6 victory at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Kraig Chiles led the Sockers with a hat trick and assist, while Ta-voy Morgan and Gabriel Costa each added two goals with an assist. The Sockers used a five-goal run over the third and fourth quarters to pull away, turning a 5-4 lead into 10-4. Alessandro Canale scored a pair of goals for Tacoma, while Nick Perera had a goal and assist.
The two clubs come together once more in San Diego on December 30 before the calendar year comes to an end. The Sockers will go twice more to Tacoma in January, and the two clubs will wrap up the regular season against one another on March 30 in San Diego, the final regular season home match at Pechanga Arena. Combatants dating back to the days of the original MISL, the Sockers own an all-time record of 73-22 against Tacoma. In the MASL, San Diego is 30-4 against Tacoma, and 4-0 in playoff series (with an 8-1 overall playoff record). The Sockers went 2-0 against the Stars in 2022-23, and have won nine straight in the series, last losing on 3/14/21 at Toyota Arena in Ontario (during the COVID-influenced season).
The Sockers boast the MASL’s best defense for two seasons running, the only club to allow fewer than 100 goals in a 24-match season, which they’ve done in back-to-back campaigns. Goalkeeper Boris Pardo is the back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year and a three-time winner of the award in the past five seasons. Team captain Kraig Chiles is now four points away from 400 in his MASL career, and 25 points from 700 in his Sockers career (including the PASL). Free agent acquisitions Drew Ruggles and Gabriel Costa bolster a roster that already returned nine double-digit scorers.
Tacoma (0-1, 12-10-2 last season) is led once again by star forward Nick Perera. The San Di-ego native won his second MASL MVP award in 2022-23, leading the league with 37 assists and 70 points. Returning to Tacoma as a free agent is goalkeeper Chris Toth. The former Socker is a top-five all-time MASL keeper in wins (85), saves (1874), and games played (146). Beyond their top two, the Stars will count on continued contributions from regulars Micheal Ramos, Jamael Cox, and Adrian Correa, continued growth from young forward Alexander Canale, and the return of speedy midfielder Wilie Spurr from a broken leg which cost him all of last season.