Frontwave Credit Union First Look // vs Texas

The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—rematch with the Texas Outlaws on Thursday night at Pechanga Arena. Having already played one another on Tuesday—a 5-4 Sockers win—San Diego and Texas will conclude their season series with their regularly scheduled match for the week, a 7:35pm kickoff which will be streamed live on Twitch channel @masl_soccer. 

The Sockers (12-2, 35 points), owners of the best record in MASL history all-time at 161-33-5, have won the first two MASL Supporters Shields, awarded to the club with the league’s best regular season record. Their 12-2 record is the best through fourteen matches in the West, but trails 15-0 Monterrey in the East. San Diego is 57-4-1 over the last 2 1/2 regular seasons (61 matches). 

This week concludes the three-match season series between the Sockers and Outlaws. San Di-ego was able to emerge from Texas with a 6-5 victory in the clubs’ first meeting of the season on February 1, and followed it with a nail-biting 5-4 win on Tuesday night. The Sockers are 5-2 in the all-time series with the Outlaws, including 4-0 at Pechanga Arena. San Diego is 2-0 against Texas in the playoffs.

The Sockers are in a busy flurry within the 2023-24 schedule which sees them play four matches in ten days. Coming off a Friday night match last weekend in Chihuahua, San Diego hosts Texas on Tuesday and Thursday before traveling to Empire for a Sunday afternoon contest at Toyota Arena in Ontario. The Sockers just completed a four-match road trip through Tacoma, Texas, and Chihuahua, compiling a 3-1 record from January 28 to February 9.

On Tuesday night, the Outlaws overcame seven absent starters, including the top five scorers on the team, to push the Sockers to the very limit before succumbing to San Diego’s offensive pressure. Texas led 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and took a final 4-3 lead 27 seconds into the fourth quarter. Playing after losing their top two scores to mid-match injuries, the Sockers found an equalizer on defend-er Mitchell Cardenas’ first goal of the season at 7:19 of the fourth. Felipé Gonzalez netted the match-winner on a scramble in front of the Texas net at 13:31. Boris Pardo made eight saves in his return to the net to secure the win for San Diego. 

Texas (9-7-1, 27 points) has a precarious hold on second place in the Western Division, leading Chihuahua by three points, but with four more matches played than the Savage (17 to 13). The Sockers, who lead the Outlaws by eight points in the standings, also have three matches in hand. After winning eight of nine matches, Texas has lost four straight to the Sockers and Savage. The Outlaws are playing severely short-handed this week, as the club’s top line is away due to commitments with the U.S. Futsal National Team. Luiz Morales (26 goals, 33 points), Sebastian Mendez (18 goals, 31 points) and David Ortiz (9 goals, 20 points) combine to form the “MOM line”, and all three are expected to miss both Tuesday and Thursdays’ contests. In addition, 20-goal scorer Vini Dantas and fifth-leading scorer Jorge DeLeon are out with injury. The Texas defense averages 6.4 goals allowed-oer-match. Eduardo “Pollo” Cortes stopped 15-of-20 shots on Tues-day and has a .750 SV% for the season. Uzi Tayou stepped up from defender to score two goals in the Tuesday night loss.