Sockers win big on Alumni Night, 10-5 over Dallas
SAN DIEGO—Kraig Chiles netted a hat trick in the first sixteen minutes, as the San Diego Sockers built a dominant 8-1 lead over the Dallas Sidekicks, settling for a 10-5 win on Alumni Night at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The Sockers (15-2, 44 points) moved six points ahead of Chihuahua, maintaining their lead at the top of the table in the MASL Western Conference.
Playing in front of former Sockers legends like Juli Veee, Kevin Crow, Brian Quinn and guest of honor, 1982-83 MVP Alan Mayer, the Sockers put on a show both for the 2,229 in attendance and the local television audience tuning in on Fox-5 San Diego. Chiles had three points by the end of the first quarter as San Diego built out a 4-0 lead. The Sockers poured in four more goals in the second, before settling into a possession-based game in the second half.
“We were excited to be back in front of our home crowd and it was a great atmosphere,” said Chiles, who now leads the Sockers with 17 goals, “We knew the game was on television and we had an opportunity to showcase our talent in front of the legends of the past. It was a great performance by the team.”
Leaving several of their top players at home after a devastating 10-9 overtime loss in Dallas the night before, the Sidekicks (0-14-3) put up little fight until the fourth quarter, when they netted three of their five goals. The Sockers were able to rest MASL wins leader Boris Pardo (15-2, 1 save) after 25 minutes and an 8-1 lead, with Xavier Snaer-Williams finishing out the match in net.
Chiles scored twice at 3:00 and 4:23 for a 2-0 lead. Brian Farber finished a wall pass from Charlie Gonzalez (goal, assist) at 8:28 to make it 3-0, and Chiles executed a perfect top-arc set piece at 12:17, slotting a pass on low left wing to Leonardo de Oliveira for his tenth goal of the season and a 4-0 advantage.
Chiles’ cheeky back-post header on a great service by Juan Manuel Rojo (two assists) put San Diego up 5-0 just a minute into the second quarter. Brandon Escoto, who added two goals and an assist to the attack, put in both his tallies in the frame, including a sizzling finish on a breakaway at 7:20. Sandwiched in between, a wall-pass goal finished by Charlie Gonzalez, with rookie Irvin Mojica providing the helper.
The Sockers’ alumni put on a show at halftime, with Brian Quinn having a goal and assist to lead the Yellow Team over the White team 2-1. Head coach Phil Salvagio put on his goalkeeper kit and made two saves to help the Yellow Team to victory.
“I haven’t lost an alumni game yet!” said a triumphant Salvagio after the match, who was also happy with his offense.
“Ten goals without Tavoy? Not bad.”
The Sockers played without their top striker Tavoy Morgan, who was sitting out his third and final match of a three-match suspension. Felipe Gonzalez (card accumulation) and Cesar Cerda (illness) also missed the match, while defenders Luis “Peewee” Ortega and Guerrero Pino were held out of the second half for precautionary reasons.
“We’ve got to make sure in the next month to play well and keep our form, but it’s critical we have our legs and our bodies under us for the playoffs,” said Chiles, “There’s no point in finishing first and not being healthy for the playoffs. We’ve got to keep using our depth and all of our rostered players, but at the same time, we’ve got to make sure we’re dialed in for those playoffs.”
The Sidekicks took advantage of the rotated lineup, out-scoring the Sockers 3-2 after halftime. Flavio Guzman had two goals for Dallas, as did Alberto Rodriguez.
Along the way, Sockers defender Ismael Rojo once again put his cannon of a right foot on display, scoring his fourth long goal in two matches, a twisting rocket from beyond the red line at 11:02 of the third quarter. Christian Gutierrez closed out the San Diego scoring in the fourth quarter with his 16th goal of the season.
San Diego heads back to Ontario next week for a showdown with the Empire Strykers on Thursday at Toyota Arena, a 6 pm kickoff. The Sockers return home on Friday, March 17 to take on the Monterrey Flash on St. Patrick’s Day, a 7:35 pm kickoff. Tickets are available for all of the five remaining home matches on the regular season at sdsockers.com or by calling (866) 799-GOAL.