KENT, WA - Charlie Gonzalez netted a hat trick with two assists and Felipe Gonzalez added a pair of goals, as the San Diego Sockers beat the Tacoma Stars 9-6 on Saturday night at accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. The Sockers (2-0) overcame an early 2-0 deficit to post their tenth straight win over Tacoma.
San Diego benefited from a Stars defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter, as the home team was called for three successive blue cards in under two minutes. While forward Brandon Escoto (goal, assist) failed twice on shootout attempts, the Sockers were able to convert a pair of goals on the two-man advantage, with Gonzalez netting passes from Tavoy Morgan and Gabriel Costa for goals at 3:26 and 4:03 of the fourth quarter. The Sockers outscored Tacoma 5-2 in the second half after trailing 4-3 at halftime.
The Stars (0-2) put the pressure on the Sockers early, scoring twice in the first 86 seconds on the club’s annual Teddy Bear Toss night. Román Torres unleashed the torrent of teddies on the field just 31 seconds into the action, and Matt Braem’s goal at 1:26 made it 2-0 Tacoma.
Charlie Gonzalez opened the scoring for San Diego with his first of three goals at 9:59 of the first quarter for 2-1. UCSD Triton alum Alessandro Canale answered back for Tacoma at 11:38, but Gabriel Costa’s goal at 13:16 helped the Sockers get to the first quarter mark trailing 3-2.
Adrian Correa and Drew Ruggles traded goals for the two clubs in the second quarter, with Ruggles’ first as a Socker coming at the 3:49 mark of the frame on a Brandon Escoto assist. A defensive quarter saw the Stars nurse their 4-3 lead into halftime.
The second half began with the first of four Tacoma blue cards, as defender Corey Keitz was called for a handball, leading to a Sockers penalty kick. Filling in for team captain Kraig Chiles, who missed the match to coach in the annual Cardiff Cup, Brandon Escoto fired a shot past Stars keeper Chris Toth at 3:54 of the third quarter for a 4-4 tie.
Defending league MVP Nick Perera (goal, two assists) put Tacoma back in front 5-4 at the 13:45 mark of the third quarter on a turning, falling strike from the right corner. The Stars lead would disappear just 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, as Felipe Gonzalez finished a pass from Tavoy Morgan for a 5-5 score.
A series of penalties then turned the tide in San Diego’s favor. First, Tacoma defender Logan Jones was shown a blue card for pushing as the last defender back, leading to a shootout attempt. While Brandon Escoto’s try to roll keeper Chris Toth from left-to-right proved unsuccessful, Toth was called for tackling Escoto on the follow-up try in the crease for a second blue card penalty. This time, Escoto’s shootout attempt against backup keeper Luis Birrueta also came up short, but the Sockers retained possession and converted the ensuing 5-v-3 power play, with Charlie Gonzalez scoring on Tavoy Morgan’s second assist of the match at 3:26 for a 6-5 lead.
Moments later, it was the Stars’ Corey Keitz heading back to the box on his second blue card of the night, this one a boarding call. With another two-man advantage, the Sockers netted their third power-play goal of the night and fourth of the season, with Charlie Gonzalez finishing his hat trick courtesy of a Gabriel Costa assist.
Leonardo de Oliveira and Felipe Gonzalez kept the fourth-quarter scoring rolling for San Diego, interrupted by an Alex Caceras goal for Tacoma. The Sockers were able to ride out three minutes of sixth-attacker pressure to close out the match.
San Diego improved to 31-4 all-time against Tacoma in PASL/MASL play, winning their tenth in a row against the Stars dating back to 2021. The Sockers now hold a 12-match regular season winning streak dating back to the 2022-23 campaign. San Diego will continue their road trip with a match on Saturday, December 16 in Dallas against the Sidekicks, before returning home on Sunday, December 17 to take on the Empire Strykers at 6:05pm. Single-game and group tickets are available by visiting sdsockers.com or calling (866) 799-GOAL.