San Diego Sockers Record 14th Consecutive Victory
The San Diego Sockers continued their dominant run with a home win versus Ontario Fury on Sunday night in front of 4,517 supporters. The hosts were led by a well-rounded team effort with multiple players on the scoring end. San Diego has seven regular-season matches remaining as the club continues its hunt for a 15th title.
MASL Soccer News: The San Diego Sockers closed out the weekend with a 7-6 overtime victory versus Pacific Division rival Ontario Fury. The Sockers continued their unbeaten streak with a 14th consecutive win heading into the final stretch of the 2018/19 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) regular season.
Ontario Fury scored the opener three minutes and 29 seconds into the opening quarter with Andy Reyes on the scoring end. Juan Carlos Gonzalez played the ball into the stride of Reyes for the authoritative finish.
Jeff Hughes extended the lead for the visitors halfway into the first quarter. The tally was the seventh of the year for the former Sockers player.
Leonardo De Oliveira put the Sockers on the board with 11 minutes remaining of the first quarter. Following a missed opportunity, De Oliveira struck the ball low to the far post into the back of the net. The opening quarter finished 2-1 with Ontario holding the advantage.
The Sockers brought the match level with six seconds remaining of the first half. Donovan split two defenders from the left sideline with a pass into the center of the field to Raymundo Contreras. The defender hit a driven ball on the ground to Travis Pittman for the chipped finish.
Cesar Cerda gave the Sockers a 3-2 lead three minutes into the third quarter with a placed finish to the back post. Escoto dribbled down the middle of the field waiting for an option to open up. When he made his decision inside the final third, an unmarked Cerda to his right finished with a placed finish to the far post.
Ontario brought the match level midway into the third quarter off a set piece. Evan McNeely stepped up to a free kick and played the ball on the ground to Maicon De Abreu for the left-footed finish into the top corner.
McNeeley gave the Fury a one-goal advantage with 3:26 left of the third quarter off a free kick from outside the top of the penalty area. Boris Pardo was unable to stop a McNeeley strike with power.
Donovan brought the match level with just over three minutes left of the third quarter. Brandon Escoto found an unmarked Donovan who was waiting in the penalty area for the calm, high finish.
De Abreu’s second goal on the night regained the lead for Ontario with 44 seconds left of the third quarter.
Ontario took a 6-4 advantage with 12 minutes left of the match. Donovan was double teamed and dispossessed on the sideline boards in his own half, which resulted in an Ontario counter-attack. Reyes dribbled the ball down the sideline with a tight opportunity and finished a mid-level strike to the near post to beat Pardo.
The Sockers cut the lead five minutes into the fourth quarter with Kraig Chiles on the scoring end. San Diego swung the ball back and forth atop the Ontario penalty area until a passing lane across the face of goal was found by Escoto. Chiles hit a one-time strike to the far post for the finish.
The hosts brought the match level with 2:12 left of the final quarter. A deflected header by Donovan fell to the feet of De Oliveira who hit a low one-time strike that was deflected into goal.
Regulation ended a 6-6 draw, setting up a Sunday overtime exhibition.
It took the Sockers one minute and 43 seconds to find the back of the net for the victory. Escoto collected the ball inside the final third along the right sideline boards. He back-heeled a ball to Donovan who made a run across the width of the pitch to the corner. Donovan served a pass off the end-line boards into the path of Chiles for the stretched finish on the ground.
Donovan and Escoto both recorded three assists on the night. Chiles and De Oliveira found the net twice in the rivalry match. The comeback win for the Sockers is the fifth victory of the year versus the Southern California rival.
“We kind of made it a little more difficult for us,” said Juan Gonzalez, Sockers defender. “We knew that we had to stay together and work through it, and we were going to be able to tie it up. We just had the confidence to be able to win in overtime. Thank god it turned out in our favor today. It worked out for us, and we took the win.”
The San Diego Sockers recorded their 14th straight victory as they head into the final stretch of the regular season. The Sockers aim to finish the season in stride as they hope to clinch home-field advantage.
“From today, there are a couple of things we have to focus on and still practice,” said Gonzalez. “There were a couple of easy goals, some mistakes. It happens. We need to sharpen up on that. Towards the end of the season, we are trying to fight for that home-advantage for playoffs. We have to finish off strong.”
The San Diego Sockers prepare for their next home match versus the Dallas Sidekicks on Friday, March 15, at 7:35 p.m. PT.