San Diego Sockers Defeat Ontario Fury on the Road
The San Diego Sockers topped Ontario Fury on Thursday night in the first of six meetings between the Pacific Division rivals. The highly anticipated Southern California matchup did not disappoint with defensive efforts highlighting the night.
The game was the first meeting of the season between the two clubs that shuffled their squads during the offseason with Leonardo de Oliveira and defender Juan Gonzalez traded from Ontario to San Diego in exchange for goalkeeper Chris Toth and forward Andy Lorei.
“The offseason moves add to this rivalry,” said San Diego Sockers new team captain and longtime veteran Brian Farber. “Ontario has put together a squad this year. Adrien Perez is really making stuff happen, and they have veteran leadership with Jeff Hughes, Evan McNeeley and Chris Toth. We knew that they were going to bring it. It was a big win for us tonight.”
It Was A Battle of the Goalkeepers
In a matchup highlighted by defensive efforts, the Sockers secured the victory with a stellar performance from goalkeeper Boris Pardo who tallied 16 saves on the night. On the offensive end, the visitors were led by four different goalscorers to record the road victory.
The Pacific Division rivals traded possession and opportunities in the first quarter of the match with the score deadlocked after 15 minutes.
San Diego had an opportunity during the first quarter when de Oliveira collected the ball in his own half and fought off two defenders.
De Oliveira dribbled down the right sideline and struck a low ball that Ontario goalkeeper Chris Toth blocked with his right foot.
The opening goal of the match came two minutes into the second quarter when Ontario lost possession in its own half. Veteran Kraig Chiles collected and played the ball to Travis Pittman who was making a run to his left. Pittman calmly finished to the near post to take the lead.
A controversial challenge from Chiles that halted Perez from a one-v-one opportunity with Pardo closed out the second quarter.
The Sockers maintained the 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
San Diego extended its lead during a power play opportunity halfway into the third quarter. Brandon Escoto collected the ball with his back to goal and played a ball on the ground to Christian Segura. The midfielder beat the defender with a cut to the left and finished with authority in front of goal.
The third goal of the match came two minutes later when Hiram Ruiz turned his defender at midfield and dribbled down the pitch. Ruiz approached the right corner of the penalty box and played a ball on the ground to an unmarked Chiles who finished with a one-time attempt.
Escoto extended the lead four minutes into the final quarter following an unsuccessful clearance off the boards by Ontario. De Oliveira collected the failed clearance and played Escoto who calmly finished inside the penalty area for the 4-0 advantage.
Despite falling behind, Ontario kept pushing forward with the hosts adding a sixth attacker.
A low cross from Tino Nunez found Francisco Cordeiro at the back post for the tap-in finish to tally the first goal of the night for Ontario. The Fury cut the deficit to two with 27 seconds to play as Perez, the leading scorer in the MASL, headed home the rebound off a shot by Jeff Hughes.
San Diego went on to record the road victory in its second match of the 2017/18 season.
The next meeting between the two sides will be on January 11th at Pechanga Arena in San Diego. The Pacific Division rivalry matchup is sure to be another hard-fought meeting with the Sockers prepared for a similar night like this one.
“This has been the most anticipated matchup,” said Farber. “I expect a lot more close games like this one.”
The Sockers prepare to host the Tacoma Stars in a playoff rematch on Saturday night at Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. PT.
“We have started off the season how we want,” said Farber. “We have another two days before our next game versus Tacoma, which will also be a tough match. We are familiar with those guys as well.”
Photo Credit: Chris Rael