Match Report // Sockers Drop Fourth Straight

The San Diego Sockers, presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego, saw leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 all evaporate, eventually falling in sudden-death overtime to the Tacoma Stars by a 5-4 final score. Tacoma’s Vini Dantas scored the golden goal on a header at 4:42 of the bonus period, his second goal of the match.

The Sockers (3-6) suffered their fourth straight loss, with one match remaining before the Ron Newman Cup playoffs, in which all seven participating teams will qualify. The losing streak is the longest in the modern history of the franchise, dating back through twelve seasons to 2009, and ensures the franchise’s first losing season since 2004. Newcomer Tavoy Morgan scored a pair of goals for San Diego, with Brian Farber and Leonardo de Oliveira adding the other Sockers scores. 

Leading 4-3 with just over a minute to play, San Diego was helpless to the result as Tacoma netted the equalizer on a picture-perfect offensive play. Pablo de Silva lofted a pass from high left wing across the field diagonally to Alex Caceres, whose left-footed strike rammed just underneath the crossbar on its way into the upper netting at 13:56.

The game-winner came after a scramble inside the attacking line for possession. The Stars’ Douglas Lima picked up the loose ball and threaded a pass to Eddie Na on attacking right-wing. His bounce pass off the glass came into the middle, and right to the head of Dantas, who nodded home the golden goal. 

Thus another hard-nosed defensive effort had gone up in smoke, left too close to the fire for too long as the Sockers were again unable to mount a consistently potent offensive attack. While the club levied 39 shots Saturday to mostly fruitless result, on this day San Diego was out-shot by Tacoma 31-17, including 25-10 after the first quarter. 

Nonetheless, the Sockers were up 1-0 in the first on a power-play goal at 10:03, courtesy of a gentle bounce pass off the goal wall from Brandon Escoto to Morgan, who slotted his first San Diego goal into the left side netting. Furious defending in a second-quarter that saw Tacoma out-shoot the Sockers 7-0 kept the scoreline unchanged, and San Diego went into the locker room after 30 minutes with the binary lead. 

Morgan’s second of the match, a right-footed thunderbolt from the left wing at 1:35 of the third quarter, extended the Sockers’ lead to 2-0. Pablo (wearing a different player’s jersey) answered back on a squaring pass from Jamael Cox at 6:54 to put Tacoma on the board, narrowing the score back to 2-1. The Stars tied the match on a goal-mouth scramble, with Philip Lund poking the ball away from a prone Boris Pardo (16/21 saves), who had just made a diving save. Lund stumbled as he nudged the ball along the goal line, where it was smashed home by Lima at 12:13. 

The third quarter would end with San Diego on top, as Cesar Cerda’s centering pass from the right mid-wall was one-touched home by Brian Farber, fooling Chris Toth (7/11 saves) with a shot to the short post. Dantas’ first of the night, off a great hold-up play from Lund down low, leveled the score at 3-3 two minutes into the fourth.

San Diego’s final lead of the night came on a lovely 1-2 stretch play up the field, as Leonardo de Oliveira sent a pass forward for Taylor Bond, and then hustled up the middle of the carpet. Bond got down low and waited for the exact moment to cross, allowing Leo to one-touch a shot through Toth’s legs at 9:03 for the go-ahead score and a 4-3 lead. de Oliveira (goal/assist) has a six-game points streak. 

The Sockers will conclude the MASL 2021 regular season when they travel to the Allen Events Center for a Saturday 5:00pm meeting with the Dallas Sidekicks.