Count Down to the Quest for 15th Championship: SAN DIEGO EXTENDS WIN STREAK TO THREE WITH 4-2 VICTORY IN TIGHT GAME
Kraig Chiles Has Scored In All 15 Games He Has Played In This Season.
Goalkeeper Boris Pardo Moves To 8-0-1 And Is The MASL Leader With A 3.66 GAA
LAKELAND, FL (Friday, February 16, 2018 – MR #17-18) – The Pacific Division Champion San Diego Sockers were held to only four goals, but that was enough to defeat Florida 4-2 at RP Funding Center on Friday night. San Diego improves to 15-3, while the Tropics’ playoff hopes were dashed with the loss to drop to 9-8.
This year, the Sockers have been an explosive offensive team averaging over seven goals per game. However, tonight San Diego managed only 18 shots against a determined Tropics defense. San Diego bookended two Florida second-period goals with their four tallies.
Captain Kraig Chiles scored the two most important goals of the game, the opener (4:04, 1st) and the game-winner (1:16, 3rd) to lead the Sockers to the tough win. Luan Oliveira added one marker and one assist to help the cause. With the game no longer in doubt, Hiram Ruiz put the ball into an empty net with four seconds left to end the scoring.
Ricardo De Queiroz Diegues and Marco Rodriquez scored for Florida, who had a game-high 19 shots. Sockers goalkeeper Boris Pardo made 13 saves to win his eighth match of the year.
He lowered his league-leading goals-against average to 3.66 and raised his save percentage to .732 for third best in the MASL. Pardo’s partner Chris Toth is expected to get the start in tomorrow’s match. The duo is ranked #1 and #2 in GAA, and #2 (Toth) and #3 in save percentage.
“We have been working hard at our defensive tactics and the victories have been a result of giving up fewer chances and goals,” said Sockers star midfielder, Brian Farber. “Ultimately we are playing well, but collectively as a group, we have just been better defensively — and it’s showing in the win/loss column,” added Farber.
“We are in the middle of a tough road trip currently. We had a close one last night here in Florida, and we are prepared for another one tonight,” said Farber.
“It’s a great test for us as these games matter for the overall record and in helping us prepare for the playoffs.”
“The team is in fantastic form”, said Sockers’ Matt Clare.
“We are excited to continue to get better and are working hard to get to our ultimate goal of winning the club’s 15th championship,” Clare added.
BRANDON ESCOTO’S LATE HEROICS PROVIDES SAN DIEGO
WITH THRILLING 5-4 WIN IN FLORIDA
San Diego concluded the two-game road series against Florida on Saturday night on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center. Sockers will play two of their three last matches at home in a final push to the playoffs.
The Pacific Division Champion San Diego Sockers used Brandon Escoto’s game-winning power-play goal with 35 seconds remaining to edge the Florida Tropics 5-4 on Saturday night at RP Funding Center in Lakeland, FL. San Diego moves to 16-3, while Florida drops to 9-9 and possibly out of postseason contention.
The match seemed to be headed to overtime after Florida’s Anthony Arico tied the score at four at 13:43 in the fourth. However, San Diego’s potent power-play unit was still on the field when from the right side John Sosa passed to Escoto, who buried his shot into the roof of the goal for the winning marker.
With two beautiful first-half goals, Brian Farber was the man of the match until Escoto’s heroics. Chad Hagerty added a goal at 4:04 in the second to stake San Diego to a 3-1 halftime lead.
When Hiram Ruiz opened the third period with an early goal at 52 seconds, it looked like the Sockers were going to cruise to an easy victory. But the Tropics did not go down without a fight and tallied three consecutive times to pull even with 1:17 left. San Diego’s defense looked slow and tired in the final period, which allowed Florida the opportunity to come back. In addition to Arico, three other Tropics’ players scored including Ricardinho Cavalcante, Guilherme Dos Santos, and Mauricio Salles.
Goalkeeper Chris Toth got his eighth win of the campaign by stopping six Tropics shots. Florida’s Piotr Silwa was forced to make 10 saves in the loss.
San Diego plays two of their last three matches at home beginning next Saturday, February 24, 7:05 at Valley View Casino Center versus Rio Grande Valley. This game was rescheduled twice, so tickets that were issued or purchased for February 2nd or 22nd will be honored. It will be $2 Bud Light Night, and the first 2,000 Supporters will receive a FREE pair of Sockers Sunglasses.
Source: San Diego Sockers Press Release.
Photos by Christopher Arnold, Florida Tropics.