San Diego Sockers Cruise to Win In First Playoff Match
The San Diego Sockers kicked off its first match of the 2017 playoffs with a victory over Southern California rival Ontario Fury at home on Sunday. The Sockers now head on the road as they prepare for the second leg in the Inland Empire at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Tuesday night.
MASL Soccer News: The San Diego Sockers opened its MASL Ron Newman Cup playoff run with a 9-4 victory over the Ontario Fury on Sunday night. The Sockers’ #QuestFor15 kicked off in front of 6,242 fans at the Valley View Casino Center during a well represented night for soccer in San Diego.
“Fantastic atmosphere — as a player there is nothing you want more than your biggest crowd of the year being a playoff game against your rival,” said Sockers captain Kraig Chiles.
The Sockers opened up the scoring in the 6th minute when Chiles collected a long ball and fed a pass to Luan Oliveira. The Brazilian collected the ball on the right side just outside the box and calmly placed a shot into the bottom, far corner. Oliveira continued his stellar first year with the Sockers, which saw him finish the regular season with 13 goals and 9 assists.
Less than a minute later, Erick Tovar extended San Diego’s lead after catching Ontario flat-footed with a great sequence of quick passing. Tovar collected the ball on the left flank from the free kick and split two defenders to lead Brandon Escoto down the right side. Escoto returned the ball back to Tovar who finished with ease.
Ontario answered back a minute later when Francisco “Chico” Cordeiro laid off a free kick for Jinho Kim whose strike snuck into the net.
In the second quarter, Tovar blasted a shot from beyond the penalty area into the upper corner. His strike would later be named the goal of the match. Tovar put his name in the assist stat sheet next when he delivered a sleek through ball to an open Brian Farber on the back post. Farber scored his first of the night to give the Sockers the 4-1 advantage.
Leonardo De Oliveira cut the lead to two when he collected the ball on the right flank and rocketed a shot past Sockers goalkeeper Chris Toth. Chiles answered back with 1:35 left to go in the first half to give the Sockers the three-goal lead.
Celebrity Halftime Game
The Sockers hosted their 2nd Annual Celebrity Game during halftime, welcoming numerous soccer legends as well as local San Diego celebrities.
Highlighting the match was American soccer legend Landon Donovan who became a San Diego resident last year. Donovan also addressed Sockers supporters during the break between the first and second quarter to address the initiative of bringing MLS to San Diego.
“I had a chance to explain to all the fans that they can help us,” said Donovan. “They can sign the initiative and help make it happen.”
Donovan also touched on the importance of the Sockers in the San Diego community as they work together to advance the initiative of #SoccerCitySD.
“The Sockers started what we are trying to build upon,” said Donovan. “They’ve been here for a long time building a soccer fanbase that appreciates and understands the game. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. We want to give back to them and hope they can help us too.”
Eduardo Velez scored the lone goal of the third quarter when he came flying down the right flank to dispossess an Ontario defender. Chiles’ attempt to collect the ball stalled directly in “El Vaquero’s” path for him to finish a low strike as the goalkeeper was caught out of position.
Raymundo Reza added the 7th goal for the Sockers when his volley struck off the glass above the frame before heading his own rebound into the net.
Attempting to get back in the match, Ontario brought on a sixth attacker that allowed Andy Reyes and Alex Caceres to dwindle the club’s deficit to 7-4. However, Oliveira and Farber put the game to rest as they finished empty netters to secure the 9-4 victory.
San Diego halted a streaking Ontario side as they head north for the second leg with a five-goal advantage.
“First leg is always very important,” said Farber. “It was great to put a statement on the game. They had won 8 out of their last 9 nine games — so, the win is big for us as we head on the road.”
Chiles remains locked in as the Sockers captain is focused on maintaining composure heading into the next match.
“We’re going to keep our head down and try to keep doing the same things we have been,” said Chiles. “Be a little more disciplined — not get into foul trouble or referee issues. We have to keep working hard and defend as a unit and the goals will come.”
The Southern California rivals suit up again on Tuesday at the Citizens Business Bank Arena with kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
If Ontario wins the second matchup, a mini-game will take place 15 minutes after the final whistle. San Diego will be looking to take care of business during regulation and advance to the Western Conference Finals versus Soles de Sonora.