San Diego Sockers Continue Dominant Run
The San Diego Sockers recorded a win versus Turlock Express on Friday night to open their four-game road trip. The Sockers improve to 9-0 on the road and 5-0 against the Express as the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) club continues its quest for a 15th championship.
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The Sockers (18-1) were without star veterans Kraig Chiles, Landon Donovan and Boris Pardo.
Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz recorded a hat-trick and Christian Gutierrez tallied a brace on the night to lead the Sockers. Brandon Escoto tied Chiles for team scoring leader with his 23rd goal of the season. He also added a pair of assists on the night. Leonardo de Oliveira netted two goals for the third straight game and tallied one assist.
Turlock Express (3-18) came out the gates with physical determination in an attempt to slow down the San Diego attack. The Sockers found the back of the net five minutes into the opening quarter with Ruiz on the scoring end. Ruiz passed the ball off the end line boards to himself then took a shot that was deflected into goal for the 1-0 lead.
Escoto extended San Diego’s lead at the 6:21 mark in the second quarter with an authoritative finish into the top corner for the 2-0 advantage.
22 seconds later, Turlock lost possession while goalkeeper Edgar Martinez was out of the penalty area. Juan Gonzalez collected the ball and found the empty for his third goal in two matches.
The Sockers took a 4-0 lead on the power play when Escoto collected a failed clearance by Express and dribbled down the pitch with a 3-on-1 opportunity. Christian Gutierrez received a pass from Escoto on the left wing and calmly slotted his 10th goal of the season at 14:23.
Only one goal was scored in the third quarter, with Escoto linking up once again with Gutierrez for a tap-in finish at 7:56.
Making his first start this season, veteran goalkeeper Jesus “Chuy” Molina made eight saves through three scoreless periods.
In the final period, Adrian Gutierrez found the back of the net for the hosts with a strike past Molina from the right sideline. Arturo Pulido and Jorge Carmona also scored for the hosts in the fourth quarter.
Ruiz scored twice for the Sockers in the quarter and de Oliveira added a power-play goal for his second of the night and 12th of the season to lead the visiting club.