Sockers win 12th Straight

by Jeff Husted

Brandon Escoto extended his goal-scoring streak to seven straight matches with two goals and an assist as the San Diego Sockers ran past the Tacoma Stars by a 9-5 score on Sunday night at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. The Sockers (14-1) have won twelve straight matches, the longest active streak in the Major Arena Soccer League.

Luis “Pee Wee” Ortega added a pair of goals and Guerrero Pino marked a goal with an assist as the Sockers improved to 8-0 on the road and 3-1 against Tacoma. Goalkeeper Boris Pardo was credited with seven saves and one assist en route to his MASL-leading 14th win.

The Sockers found the net first on a midfield turnover and a 3-on-2 rush. Travis Pittman found a rebound on the right wing and calmly tucked his seventh goal of the season for a 1-0 lead at 2:08 of the first quarter. Pittman has netted a goal in four straight matches.

The remainder of the first quarter came at a heavy cost, as first Juan Gonzalez (ankle) and then Felipe Gonzalez (knee) went down due to injury. While Juan Gonzalez was able to continue in the contest, Felipe had to be helped off the field and did not return.

The Stars (6-8) evened the contest on a power-play goal 2:36 into the second quarter, as Jose Cairel crushed a right-wing blast into the upper corner above Pardo for his second goal of the year and a 1-1 tie.

San Diego used possession to wear down the Stars as the half progressed, and cashed in late with three scores to close out the half. Tracking a loose ball that popped out to the top of the crease, Ortega timed and then blasted a right-footed twister into the left side netting at 10:26 to put the Sockers ahead 2-1.

Less than two minutes later, it was Sockers leading goal scorer Escoto (2-2=4) working against form, attacking on the left wing and ducking to his right foot. The southpaw striker used his right to great effect with a rising smash diagonally past Stars keeper Sanaldo for a 3-1 advantage. Pardo assisted Escoto's marker for his second consecutive game with a helper. Leo’s entry pass to an unmarked Juan Gonzalez in the middle of the crease, who was able to turn to the right foot and finish his second goal in as many games at 14:32 of the frame. The Sockers led 4-1 at halftime.

A wild third quarter saw both teams net three times. Guerrero Pino, Christian Gutierrez, and Escoto found their way past Sanaldo’s reaches in a three-goal run, while Joey Gjertsen, Mike Ramos, and Nick Perera answered for the Stars. The game was 7-4 San Diego after 45 minutes.

Gjertsen’s second marker of the night on a power play pulled the Stars within two at 7-5 6:38 into the final frame, but the Sockers were able to lock down their defense from there, scoring twice when Tacoma went to a six attackers formation. Sent in clean by a Pino through ball, Ortega dribbled the ball to the goal line, hesitated and then consummated his second goal of the night at 12:13, and Escoto set up Christian Segura for a silky chip shot with 43 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

San Diego now will enjoy a bye week before returning to action on Friday, March 1 at Pechanga Arena San Diego against the Turlock Express. Tickets are available for the 7:35 p.m. match at (866) 799-GOAL or online at