WEDNESDAY WESTERN DIVISION CLASH AS SOCKERS VISIT FURY
The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—wrap up a four-match road trip with their second visit of the season to Toyota Arena in Ontario, battling the rival Ontario Fury in a 7:05pm kickoff. The match will be broadcast for free live on MASL TV on YouTube.
The Sockers (6-0-1) are in the midst of playing five matches in ten days, including three matches in five days this week. San Diego returns home to host the Tacoma Stars on Friday at Pechanga Arena San Diego, and Utica City FC on Sunday. Wednesday’s tilt represents the fourth meeting of six already this season between the Fury and Sockers. The two clubs will meet again in Ontario on February 15, and wrap up the regular season against one another in San Diego on April 3.
Wednesday’s contest concludes a four-match road trip which so far has seen the Sockers grab three wins in three opportunities. The journey began with a 7-2 victory in Ontario on January 16, and continued in Mexico with back-to-back overtime wins against the Chihuahua Savage, 6-5 and 11-10. San Diego is 4-0 on the road so far in the 2021-22 MASL campaign.
Last weekend, the Sockers were pushed to the limit by a Chihuahua Savage side playing at home for the first time and bolstered by multiple experienced additions to their roster. San Diego, meanwhile, was without three top performers in Charlie Gonzalez, Leonardo De Oliveira, and Guerrero Pino. On Friday night, the Sockers saw a second-half 4-2 lead dissipate behind three straight Savage markers. Trailing 5-4 in the final minute, San Diego pulled their keeper for a sixth attacker and got the equalizing goal, on Tavoy Morgan’s 9th of the season with 52 seconds remaining. Thirty-two seconds into overtime, Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz completed a breakout performance with his fourth goal of the match, lifting the Sockers to a 6-5 victory.
Saturday’s match was the highest-scoring in the MASL so far in 2021-22, a see-saw affair in which the home team staged another dramatic second-half rally. Trailing 6-3 at halftime, Chihuahua scored four straight goals between the third and fourth quarters, grabbing a 9-8 lead. Morgan equalized at 11:24, and Brandon Escoto’s power-play goal with 16 seconds left gave San Diego back the lead at 10-9. On a free kick with two seconds left, the Savage passed back to defender Roberto Escalante, who hammered home the game-tying goal as time expired. Chihuahua's dramatic comeback would evaporate just 18 seconds into the extra period, as Ruiz fed Morgan in the crease for his third goal of the night, an OT game-winner for an 11-10 victory.
The Fury (5-3) won in Baltimore and Utica last weekend, moving back within three standings points of the Sockers in the MASL West. Ontario forward Franck Tayou (13 goals, 16 points) became the first player in the MASL to record 400 career points, doing so with a goal on Friday in Baltimore. Midfielder Justin Stinson had a four-goal match in Baltimore, and is now second on the Fury to Tayou with 11 goals and 14 points. Chris Toth is 3-3 in net with a 5.11 GAA and .711 SV%.