San Diego Sockers Strike Gold — Again
It was a great night to be a San Diego Sockers fan. As San Diego Sockers’ General Manager Sean Bowers says, “It was an awesome night — best in years — and a great crowd of more than 5,000 fans.”
Sports fans crowded in to witness a great victory for the San Diego Sockers tonight — as well as a really fun Legends game of Sockers alums at haft time.
It was time for revenge and the Sockers secured a victory with almost a clean sheet — For almost 55 minutes the Sockers did the held Soles de Sonora scoreless on the way to a 5-2 victory in front of 5,250 raucous fans at the Valley View Casino Center.
The Man of the Match was clearly the Sockers’ goalkeeper, Chris Toth, who was fabulous protecting the goal and made 29 sensational saves.
The first goal of the night came quickly as Max Touloute opened the scoring inside of two minutes with a thunderous volley that beat Soles’ keeper Diego Reynoso at the far post.
While there were several unsuccessful attempts to find the back of the net again, the Sockers had to wait until Brian Farber was able to extended the lead at the 9:16 mark of the second quarter.
Farber — also known as the “Flash” — scored off his own rebound after a gorgeous layoff from Kraig Chiles put him one on one with Reynoso. Farber’s grace and speed around the arena provided his team with a definitive advantage.
Just before the close of the second quarter, Ray Reza rounded out the scoring for the first half with a powerful drive from a set piece.
The Sockers had just done the unthinkable, shutout the top scoring team in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), for a half at least.
Matt Clare and Brandon Escoto each scored their first goal in three games to extend San Diego’s lead to 5-0 in the second half.
Soles de Sonora ended Toth’s shutout bid in the fourth quarter. Frank Tayou received the ball inside the arc and toe-poked it beyond Toth’s outstretch arms.
Before fans could really catch their breathe — only 47 seconds later — Raymundo Contreras forced the ball over the line after a scrum in San Diego’s crease.
At 5-2, it looked like there could be a slight ray of hope for Soles, but late penalties to Enrique Canez, Daniel Lopez and Gustavo Rosales destroyed any hope of a comeback.
It was a night to remember as the Sockers halted Soles’ 10-game unbeaten run while improving to 9-4 on the season.
At half time, the Sockers Alumni / Legends game was played … and the fans loved watching their retired favorites hit the arena. The alums — many of whom are area youth soccer coaches and trainers — were divided into two teams; the gold and the blue.
Although it was more a collection of retired players who were all once individual stars and not two well oiled teams, the game was highly competitive.
San Diego Sockers coach Phil Salvagio showed off that he still has it as a goalie and General Manager Sean Bowers provided strong defense for his team.
Proving that being retired does not mean one has to slow down, Paul Wright looked in top form and expertly sent the ball flying past Salvagio to score a goal for his team.
“Best Sockers Legends game yet, it was great to be out in the arena — Sean Bowers did a great job getting everyone out,” says Paul Wright.
“Last night was a fantastic atmosphere and the team executed the game plan,” says San Diego captain Kraig Chiles. “If you can’t get pumped up to play in front of the Legends and over 5,000 fans — then your playing in the wrong sport.”
Brian Quinn, Chiky Luna, Ray Taila, Guy Newman, Cha Cha Namdar, Paul Dougherty, Jacques LaDouceur and a total of thirty other alums came out for the friendly match and it was evident that the men in the arena enjoyed the action as much as the fans in the stands.
San Diego faces a top of the table clash with Pacific Division leaders Tacoma on Friday, February 3rd at the Valley View Casino Center.
Did you know the San Diego Sockers …
Originally founded in 1978, the San Diego Sockers returned in 2009 and are the most successful indoor soccer team in the sport’s history.
The Sockers set the U.S. pro sports record with the longest winning streak boasting 48 straight wins.
The team has won a total of 14 indoor championships in the MISL, PASL and MASL leagues combined.
Editor’s Note: Article updated with additional quotes from Sean Bowers, Paul Wright and Kraig Chiles on 1.22.17