The Monterrey Flash book their return trip to the Championship

by Jeff Husted

SAN DIEGO (April 28, 2019) -  The Monterrey Flash are headed back to the Ron Newman Cup Championship after defeating the San Diego Sockers 4-3 in tonight's Western Conference Final in overtime. Brandon Escoto scored the game winning goal only 54 seconds into the extra period, handing the Sockers their first loss at home since December 22.

Three time MASL MVP Franck Tayou opened the scoring for the Flash with just over five minutes remaining in the opening period. 'King' Tayou, with his back to goal, received a pass off the wall just to the left of Sockers goalkeeper Boris Pardo. Tayou quickly turned and placed a shot that went through the legs of both his defender and Pardo. 

Brayan Aguilar joined Tayou on the score sheet a few minutes later to give the Flash a brief two goal lead, the largest lead any of the final four teams enjoyed today. 

It was short lived however, Sockers forward Leo De Oliveira dribbled across the middle of the field then placed a perfect shot to the right corner of the goal. Kraig Chiles was the only player to find the net on either team in the second quarter, sending the game to halftime all knotted up at 2-2.

Both sides had their chances in the third quarter, but San Diego seemed to get bottled up in the Monterrey defensive zone. The Flash were able to penetrate the Sockers defense, but every shot was swallowed up by Pardo or ricocheted off the posts.

De Oliveira gave the Sockers their only lead of the night midway through the fourth quarter. From the top of the arc, he was able to successfully needle his shot through several Flash defenders and put it to the back of the net before Monterrey goalkeeper Diego Reynoso even saw it.

The Flash then went to work. They peppered Pardo and the Sockers back line with several attacks and shots from seemingly every point on the field. With a little over two minutes remaining, Monterrey defender Damian Garcia lobbed a pass to the back wall next to the San Diego goal. The ball took a fortuitous bounce for Monterrey and Aguilar was able to get a foot to it and tie the game once more, this time at 3-3.

Neither side could muster a score in the final minutes, sending the game to overtime.

The Golden Goal overtime starts with ten minutes on the clock, but Monterrey only needed 54 seconds of it to find their score. The Flash took the opening kickoff and only briefly gave up possession to San Diego. Once they regained the ball, they quickly moved down the field on the counter attack. Miguel Vaca took a shot from the right side that had just enough height to get over Pardo's hands, and just enough spin that when it hit the crossbar it bounced into the goal for the game-winner.

The Flash will now get to face the Milwaukee Wave for the right to hoist the Ron Newman Cup next Sunday, May 5 at 5:05 p.m. CT. That match can be seen live on Eleven Sports and on MASLtv.