SD Sockers Defeat RGV Barracudas in OT
The Sockers came from behind to defeat Rio Grande Valley Barracudas in overtime on Sunday night in San Diego. The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) matchup between two playoff-bound clubs did not disappoint the home crowd of 5,664 supporters. The match was also highlighted by the retiring of Paul Wright’s number as well as alumni night.
MASL Soccer News: The San Diego Sockers recorded a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory versus RGV Barracudas on Sunday night at Pechanga Arena. The Sockers rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Texas club.
Brandon Escoto provided heroics for the Sockers with a goal in the first minute of overtime. Escoto also tallied the game-tying assist in the fourth quarter. Captain Kraig Chiles recorded a hat-trick on the night, and Leonardo De Oliveira tallied two assists. For the Barracudas, player/head coach Genoni Martinez tallied three assists, while Moises Gonzalez notched a hat-trick.
The Sockers have won five overtime matches this season, which forward Taylor Bond credits to the team’s work ethic.
“We’ve been in overtime several times this year with a game-winning goal,” said Bond. “It takes a lot of heart and team effort to come through with a victory. There are no better guys to go to battle with than the Sockers.”
RGV Barracudas scored the opening goal of the match in the third minute of the second quarter. Martinez stepped up to a free-kick and laid the ball off behind with the sole of his foot. Gonzalez struck a low finish past an unprepared Sockers defense and into the net.
The second tally for the visitors came off another Martinez free-kick assist. Martinez served a low pass to Diego Zuñiga who finished with a high, left-footed strike.
Midway into the third quarter, a mistake from San Diego extended RGV’s advantage to 3-0. San Diego goalkeeper Boris Pardo’s pass out of his defensive third was intercepted by Gustavo Rosales to set up a breakaway opportunity. Rosales waited for the defender and Pardo to commit and then played a ball to Gonzalez on his right for the calm finish.
With three quarters concluded, the climax was still to come.
The Sockers started a five-goal, fourth-quarter rally in the second minute. Positioned at the back post, Christian Gutierrez finished a mishit from De Oliveira to cut the deficit.
Two minutes later, Chiles tallied the second goal of the night for San Diego. Christian Segura played the ball to Chiles in the penalty area for the calm finish.
A stunning Barracudas goal calmed the vocal San Diego crowd. Martinez served a long ball on target to the head of Gonzalez for the finish across goal and into the side netting.
RGV held a 4-2 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining in the final quarter.
One minute and 30 seconds later, Brian Farber cut the lead with a streaking defensive effort. RGV Barracudas goalkeeper Diego Angel Arriaga played an off-target pass to his teammate that Farber pounced on for the first-time, left-footed finish.
Chiles was pulled down by his arm and awarded a penalty at the five minutes and 35 seconds mark. The club veteran stepped up to the penalty kick and beat Arriaga to his left. The match was level at 4-4 with under 10 minutes left of play.
In the ninth minute, Erick Jhon Ponce regained the lead for the Barracudas.
A header off the end line boards from Luis Saúl Ramírez fell to the feet of Ponce for the one-time volley and finish.
Chiles recorded his hat-trick on the power play with under three minutes left of play. The Sockers maintained possession around RGV’s penalty area until Escoto found Chiles for a one-time strike from the outside corner of the penalty area.
With the score 5-5 at the end of regulation, the Sockers headed to its fifth overtime of the season.
It took less than a minute for Escoto to find the back of the net for the Sockers. De Oliveira played a ball across the pitch to Escoto who collected the ball from 20 yards out. Escoto took one touch with his sole and hit a left-footed strike to the bottom corner of the goal. The San Diego crowd erupted as the Sockers closed out a dramatic win over a skilled opponent.
The San Diego Sockers continue their dominant run with the playoffs approaching in the coming weeks.
“Right now we are not really worried about who we play, but how we play,” said Bond. “Each game we are coming in and getting ready for playoffs. There are some lessons to be learned, but we are coming together and ready to go all the way.”
The Sockers will host the Monterrey Flash on Saturday, April 13, at Pechanga Arena San Diego at 7:05 p.m. PT.