Monterrey Drops San Diego 4-3 In Overtime

Miguel Vaca’s golden goal 54 seconds into overtime lifted the Monterrey Flash past the San Diego Sockers 4-3 in the MASL Western Conference Final of the Ron Newman Cup playoffs. The Sockers’ 23-match win streak ends with the club in the same position they were last year, one step from the Ron Newman Cup Final.

“It takes a while for the emotions to set it, but it’s never fun on the negative,” said Landon Donovan after the match, “I have so much respect for the guys on this team who have meant so much to this game. It’s heartbreaking, for all of us.”

Leading 3-2 with under three minutes to play, the Sockers saw the Flash (19-5, 3-0 playoffs) make the comeback needed for a return trip to the Grand Final. Brayan Aguilar (two goals) saw an entry pass off the goal wall settled perfectly to his toe as a San Diego defender anticipated a bounce into the corner. Unmarked, Aguilar slammed the ball into the side netting from a tight angle at 12:41 of the fourth to forge a 3-3 tie.

Overtime was nasty, brutish and short from San Diego’s perspective. Controlling possession, the Flash had an original chance to win less than 30 seconds into the extra period, only for Vaca’s skipping shot to hit the inside of the left post. It was one of multiple post/crossbar hits for the Flash on the night.

Moments later, the Flash countered up the field against a tired San Diego defense. Vaca had room to run in on the right wing, and unleashed a blast which hit the bottom of the crossbar, danced on the goal line and then trickled into the dismay of the Sockers faithful, and the delight of the visitors from Monterrey.

The Flash built a 2-0 lead in the first quarter on goals by Franck Tayou and Aguilar, only to see San Diego bounce back to even the score on tallies from Leonardo de Oliveira and Kraig Chiles. The score was 2-2 at the half.

Controlling possession through the third quarter, the Flash teased multiple times without finding the net, hitting post or crossbar on several chances. De Oliveira’s second of the night at 9:18 of the fourth gave the Sockers their only lead, but Aguilar’s equalizer sent the game along to its eventual conclusion.

The Flash advance to play the Milwaukee Wave in the Ron Newman Cup Final next weekend. The Sockers’ season ends with a record of 23-1, 2-1 playoffs.