Chiles Records Second Straight Hat Trick In 8-5 Win
The San Diego Sockers lived up to an old sports axiom on Thursday night in Kissimmee, Florida: they don’t ask how, they ask how many.
Riding a third-quarter hat trick from team captain Kraig Chiles, the Sockers (11-3) won their second straight on a week-long road trip, posting a professional 8-5 victory over the Orlando Seawolves. Brandon Escoto added a pair of goals as the Sockers improved to 3-2 on what is overall a six-match road trip through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mexico, and Florida.
“This was not the game (of the four) we were focusing on, and I think it showed tonight,” said Chiles of their uneven effort in victory, “Whether it’s a competitive game or not, you’re a professional player, and it’s important to show up.”
Chiles showed up. Hours after being named the MASL Player of the Week for his five goals and six points against Monterrey and Sonora, Chiles produced a second-quarter assist, then found his scoring angles in the third quarter, twice finishing tap-ins from Eduardo Velez assists. A power play free kick smash under the crossbar pushed the captain’s season total to 15 goals, and eight in three matches.
The Sockers playing their third match in four days was one thing. Playing their third match in three states, three time zones and two countries was quite another. The San Diego front office flew in a quartet of fresh legs for the match against Orlando (1-11), understanding a showdown against the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Tropics looms on Saturday night in Lakeland.
The match began auspiciously for the visitors, as Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz’s long lead pass was gently nudged into the Seawolves’ net by their own defender running back, good for a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the action.
San Diego gave the lead right back on a turnover in their own zone, smashed home by Ryan Sandige of the Seawolves at 1:14 for a quick leveling at 1-1. On a set piece later in the quarter, Leonardo de Oliveira returned to the lineup in a big way, rolling a pass through traffic to Escoto, who was able to lift the ball over goalkeeper Fernando Cortes into the net for his sixth goal of the year, good for a 2-1 advantage at 11:32.
Again the lead was short-lived for the Sockers, with Rafa Tobias netting at 13:03 of the first quarter, knotting the scoreline at 2-2, which was the fifteen-minute total.
A physical second quarter saw Christian Gutierrez give San Diego the lead for good, dribbling through his defender and Cortes at the low-right edge of the crease for a point-blank tally and a 3-2 lead at 3:38. Both teams came up empty on a power play in the frame, and the Sockers went into the halftime locker room with a one-goal advantage.
Chiles’ offensive excellence in the third quarter bracketed a Leonardo de Oliveira goal, a shot which deflected off a Seawolves backtracking defender for the club’s second own goal of the match.
Orlando kept fighting until the end, netting three times in the final twenty minutes courtesy of Jeff Michaud, Gui Ribeiro, and Luiz Mota. Escoto’s second goal of the match came with 40 seconds remaining on an assist from Luis Piffer. Diego Arriaga made his fourth start of the season in net for the Sockers and improved to 4-0 with an eleven-save performance.
Up next for San Diego, one of the anticipated matches of the MASL season, as the Sockers travel to Lakeland to take on the 12-1 Florida Tropics, a 2:05pm kickoff (San Diego time) on Saturday afternoon. The Sockers’ next home match is on Wednesday, February 12 against the Baltimore Blast, scheduled for a 7:35pm kick. Tickets are available online at SDSockers.com/tickets, or by phone at (866) 799-GOAL.