SOCKERS MAKE HISTORY IN HARRISBURG
HARRISBURG, PA—A franchise known for its winning ways has another record-breaking streak to add to its collection.
The San Diego Sockers dismissed the Harrisburg Heat on Sunday afternoon by an 11-3 final score, powered by a five-point match from team captain Kraig Chiles (two goals, three assists). Brian Farber, Christian Gutierrez, Leonardo de Oliveira, and Charlie Gonzalez all added two goals apiece as the Sockers (8-0, 23 points) strengthened their hold on first place in the MASL Western Division.
In doing so, the Sockers won their 28th consecutive Major Arena Soccer League regular season match, breaking the league’s previous all-time record of 27 (Missouri/Kansas City Comets, 2014-16). San Diego has also won seventeen straight on the road, and their all-competition win streak is up to twelve in a row (counting playoffs). Dating back to 2021, the Sockers are 45-0-4 in their last 49 contests. The Sockers previously set the all-time U.S. professional sports record for the longest all-competitions winning streak from 2010-13, winning 48 consecutive matches in the Professional Arena Soccer League.
San Diego blew the contest open with three goals in each of the final three quarters. Defender Cesar Cerda collected three assists in the match, and the Sockers were able to pull goalkeeper Boris Pardo with three minutes left in the second quarter, resting the defending MASL Goalkeeper of the Year. Pardo (W, 8-0) earned his 99th career win in the MASL, two more than Baltimore’s William Vanzela for most league wins all-time among goalkeepers.
The first quarter on Sunday began much like Saturday night, with both teams staying behind the ball and playing defensive soccer. San Diego ramped up the pressure late in the frame and was rewarded with the lead. After a pair of near chances, one saved and the other off the post, Cesar Cerda charged in on left wing. His wall pass snuck through into the crease, where Brian Farber was waiting for a simple deflection into an empty net. First match for Farber, first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead at 12:19.
The Sockers used the goal wall to good effect once again in the final minute, with a near-carbon copy play. This time it was Juan Manuel Rojo with a hard pass off the left goal wall, allowed to sneak through defenders to the top of the crease. Leonardo de Oliveira ran on the ball and smashed it past Heat keeper Darian Mccauley at 14:35 for his first goal of the weekend and second of the season. The Sockers led 2-0 after fifteen minutes, out-shooting Harrisburg 8-1.
San Diego began to stretch the lead early in the second quarter. In the opening minute, Harrisburg lost track of Christian Gutierrez, who ran unmarked to the back post. Mitchell Cardenas’ shot-pass found its way to Christian for a point-blank smash and a 3-0 advantage at the 0:41 mark.
Midway through the frame, it was time for another “wallascora”, as Kraig Chiles smashed a bank-shot of a pass off the goal wall, past the head of a leaping Farber and to Juan Carlos “Charlie” Gonzalez on right wing. Charlie measured the bounce before putting his laces all the way through his right-footed volley, which twisted into the top corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season. The Sockers led 4-0 at 6:53.
Harrisburg’s Dominic Francis was shown a blue card late in the second quarter for a kicking foul against Luis “Peewee” Ortega after the ball was away, which was upgraded to a blue-plus-yellow after a video review challenge from Sockers head coach Phil Salvagio. San Diego made quick work of the power play, with Chiles’ simple pass to Leo on right wing resulting in a goal after Leo’s attempted cross was deflected off defender Danny DiPrima and into the net at 12:49.
Meanwhile, Boris Pardo was given an early seat on the bench at 3:11 remaining in the second quarter with a comfortable lead. Xavier Snaer-Williams entered the match in net, and saw a Harrisburg goal on the first shot against him, as Andrew Hoxie set up Matt Braem for the score at 13:20. The Sockers took their 5-1 lead into the halftime locker room.
San Diego scored right out of the locker room on Kraig Chiles’ left-wing one-timer off a Cerda pass at 0:31 of the third quarter. At 10:55, Tavoy Morgan used his head to settle a lead pass from Guerrero Pino, charging in on net for an inch-perfect shot inside right post for his fourth goal of the weekend and team-leading 11th of the season, good for a 7-1 lead.
Malcolm Harris pulled one back for the Heat off a defensive one-on-one giveaway at 14:16 of the third, but the Sockers answered just eleven seconds later, with Farber pivoting on a loose ball in the crease for a half-volley into the top netting at 14:27. The Sockers led 8-2.
Xavier Snaer-Williams (4/7 saves) was put to the test at the end of the third quarter when the Sockers were shown a blue card for a tripping penalty and Harrisburg was awarded a shootout attempt. “X” made a kick save on Dominic Francis’ shootout attempt, and San Diego killed the power play, with Christian Gutierrez adding a short-handed goal :33 into the fourth quarter for a 9-2 lead.
Chiles (power play) and Charlie Gonzalez finished the scoring in the fourth for the Sockers at 4:34 and 6:37. David Mellor’s solo goal on a top-arc set piece with three seconds left in the contest set the final scoreline.
The Sockers now head home to take on the Chihuahua Savage in a Sunday rematch of last year’s Ron Newman Cup semi-finals. The Savage is the last team to have beaten San Diego, winning in overtime in Match One of the semifinals down in Mexico. Tickets for the Sunday 5:05pm kickoff on January 29 at Pechanga Arena are available by calling (866) 799-GOAL or visiting sdsockers.com.