SOCKERS OPEN THEIR PLAYOFF RUN TONIGHT IN MESQUITE
SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—open the Ron Newman Cup playoffs with a MASL Western Conference Semifinal matchup against the Mesquite Outlaws Friday evening from the Mesquite Arena. The match is scheduled for a 5:05 pm PDT kickoff, and will be streamed live on Twitch on channel www.twitch.tv/masl_soccer.
The Ron Newman Cup Playoffs consist of three rounds in two divisions, with each round a best-of-three series. In the Conference Semifinals, the top seeds play the winner of each division’s respective Play-In Game, while the second and third seeds square off against one another. The Outlaws defeated the Tacoma Stars 9-6 on Wednesday in Tacoma to win the Western Play-in Game. Each individual round consists of two full matches, one in each venue. After the second match, if the series is tied 1-1 the two teams play a 15-minute Knockout Game immediately afterward to determine the series winner.
The Sockers (22-2, 62 points) finished the regular season with ten straight wins, earning the MASLSupporters Shield, awarded to the club with the best regular season record in the league. The only 20+win team in the league, San Diego will have home-field advantage throughout the Ron Newman Cup playoffs. The Sockers won five more matches than the second-best club (Chihuahua, 17-6-1).
The Sockers and Mesquite Outlaws are meeting in the playoffs for the first time. During the regular season, home field held sway over the head-to-head series, with San Diego winning twice at Pechanga Arena, and Mesquite holding serve at Mesquite Arena. The Sockers prevailed over the Outlaws by scores of 5-4 on December 18 and 7-2 on February 3. On February 18 in Mesquite, the Outlaws returned the favor with a 6-5 win. The series turned intense with post-match arguments after the December 18 and February 18 results. San Diego is 3-2 all-time against Mesquite, 3-0 at home, and 0-2 in Texas.
San Diego ended the regular season on a roll, posting ten consecutive victories. In the final weekend of the season, the Sockers beat Milwaukee 11-5 and Tacoma 5-4 (OT). The Sockers went a perfect 12-0 at home and 10-2 on the road. The club has won 22 straight at home dating back to January 8, 2022. Kraig Chiles led the club in scoring with (21-20=41) points. Tavoy Morgan led the club in goals with 24. Boris Pardo led the MASL in wins (21) and goals-against average (3.80).
Mesquite (12-9-3, 37 points) appeared to be stumbling out of the playoffs, suffering five straight losses entering the season’s final weekend. The Outlaws picked up a critical point on the road in Chihuahua in their fifth loss, a 10-9 overtime defeat, and then rallied to beat Empire 7-2 at home to punch their play-in ticket. Mesquite then traveled to Tacoma and upset the Stars 9-6 on Wednesday, earning their playoff stripes. The Outlaws have scored 124 goals and allowed 147. Mesquite is 8-3-1 at home, and 5-6-2 on the road (counting playoffs). Forward Luiz Morales is a dangerous shooter with both feet, scoring 23 goals in 19 matches. He erupted for two goals and two assists in the Play-in Game win. Midfielder Sebastien Mendez led the Outlaws in scoring with (27-14=41) points. Goalkeeper Eduardo“Pollo” Cortes started 23 games for Mesquite, going 10-9-3 with a 5.73 GAA and .670 SV%.