ALLEN, TX — Tavoy Morgan netted two goals with two assists and Kraig Chiles had a first-half hat trick, as the San Diego Sockers breezed past the Dallas Sidekicks 10-3 on Saturday night at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen, Texas. The Sockers (11-1, 32 points) won their fifth in a row and completed a perfect weekend in the Lone Star State, scoring the final seven goals unanswered against Dallas (1-12, 2 points) from the second quarter to the finish.
“Coach (Phil Salvagio) told us to take care of business this weekend and it was a good match for us,” said Morgan.
Charlie Gonzalez added a goal with a team-high four assists, while Brandon Escoto, Drew Ruggles, and Leonardo de Oliveira also scored even-strength goals for San Diego. Cesar Cerda contributed a pair of helpers, including the setup on the Sockers’ third short-handed goal of the season, a Christian Gutierrez goal at 5:39 of the third quarter. Starting for the second time this weekend in place of the suspended Boris Pardo, goalkeeper Xavier Snaer-Williams improved to 4-0 on the season, stopping six-of-nine shots.
A spirited Dallas side lost its eleventh in a row, but gave the Sockers a bit of a push in the opening 22 minutes. The Sidekicks took a 1-0 lead 8:12 into the first quarter on a low-left corner wall pass off the goal wall from Jamie Lovegrove to Ahmed Zaky, who finished point-blank five feet from the goal line.
The Sockers answered with two goals in the final four minutes of the quarter. On a left wall restart, Charlie Gonzalez threaded a pass to Ruggles in the middle, who took one step to his favored left foot before smashing in the equalizer at 11:13, his fifth goal of the season. Two minutes later, it was de Oliveira with a beautiful no-look backheel pass from the wall to Cesar Cerda, creating a 2-v-1 on the right side. Cerda took the defender out of the play with a perfect pass to Chiles, who left-footed in a simple goal at 13:38 for a 2-1 Sockers lead.
Dallas took advantage of a good bench change and a long throw from their starting keeper Juan Gamboa, who spotted an open Oscar Romero and sent him in 1-v-1 on goal for a score and a 2-2 tie 47 seconds into the second quarter. San Diego answered back with Zaky in the penalty box for a tripping blue card, clinically putting together a power play goal at 5:52 when Escoto, Leo, and Morgan worked a 3-v-2 in the right corner, with Leo centering to Morgan for the goal and a 3-2 lead.
The Sidekicks had one more answer, on a wall pass from Nestor Hernandez to Albert Rodriguez at 7:03 in the second for a 3-3 tie. Chiles put the game on his back from there…or more accurately, on his head. First, the captain lept from a left angle to head home a long cross from Charlie Gonzalez into the side netting at 10:32 for a spectacular goal and a 4-3 lead. Then, on a free kick from the right angle, Chiles smashed a volley which was foot-saved by Gamboa into the air, then followed his own rebound to head it home at 13:56 for the hat trick and 5-3 advantage. Tavoy Morgan finished off the burst with a nutmeg of his defender and a goal off Charlie Gonzalez’s third assist of the half, good for a 6-3 lead at 14:08.
San Diego came out strong in the third quarter, working the ball through Morgan as he turned his back to net and demonstrated clinical hold-up play. Each time, the ball came to Morgan on a 1-2, and he slid a pass to the man who fed it to him, setting up an easy goal. Brandon Escoto was the first beneficiary at 3:48, and Charlie Gonzalez got his goal at 4:26 to give the Sockers an 8-3 lead.
Dallas tried to press for an advantage when Snaer-Williams was called for a tripping blue card, bringing third-string keeper Lenny Islas into net. The Sockers defense responded with a short-handed counterattack. Christian Gutierrez trapped an attempted centering wall pass deep in his zone, sent a ball forward to a racing Cerda up the right wall, then followed with his own run hard up the middle. Cerda carried the ball into the attacking zone before giving it back to Gutierrez, who scored at full speed with a left-footed placement into the far-right corner of the net and a 9-3 lead at 5:39. It was the Sockers’ third short-handed goal of the season, tied with Utica for the MASL lead.
A fourth quarter saw both clubs focus on preserving their legs, with Leonardo de Oliveira netting the only goal of the frame at 4:29. San Diego improved to 7-0 on the road and won for the fourteenth straight time over the Sidekicks, building out to a five-point lead in the MASL Western Division, with three matches in hand on second-place Texas.
The Sockers’ four-match road trip ends next Friday with a showdown against the Chihuahua Savage at Corner Sport Arena south of the border. Chihuahua (6-5) is undefeated against all MASL teams but the 14-0 Monterrey Flash, who have beaten them all five times they have faced one another. San Diego lost 5-1 at home to the Savage in their only previous meeting this season. The match will kick off at 6:05pm PST on Friday, with the Sockers returning home on February 13 and 15 to host Texas for 7:35pm kickoffs. Tickets are available by visiting sdsockers.com or calling (866) 799-GOAL.