Pardo & Chiles Leads Sockers To Series Win, 8-0
Boris Pardo stopped all ten shots he faced, combining with Xavier Snaer-Williams on an eleven-save shutout, as the San Diego Sockers blanked the Mesquite Outlaws 8-0 on Sunday night at Pechanga Arena. Kraig Chiles had a hat trick with two assists for a five-point match as the Sockers swept the Outlaws 2-0 in the best-of-three MASL Western Conference semi-final series, advancing to play the winner of tomorrow’s playoff between Monterrey and Chihuahua.
The story was once again defense, as the Sockers authored a total of 94:18 scoreless minutes to run out the series against Mesquite, conceding only once on a Match one shootout goal. Pardo, the undoubted MASL Goalkeeper of the Year and possible league MVP, was a perfect 17-for-17 on saves in the series. It was the third Sockers shutout of the modern era and the first of any kind since Chris Toth shut out the Ontario Fury 8-0 on November 19, 2017.
The blanking was the sixth playoff shutout in Sockers history and the first of the modern era. The last Sockers playoff shutout was authored by Victor Nogueira on May 22, 1990, a 4-0 win over Dallas in the Western Division Finals. Nogueira also turned the trick in a 1-0 shutout over Dallas on May 20, 1989. Prior to that, it was Jimmy Gorsek on May 15, 1985 against the Minnesota Strikers. Prior to that, it was Alan Mayer in 1983’s MISL Championship Series against Baltimore, back-to-back in Games 1 and 2 on May 13 and May 15, 1983. Mayer, Gorsek, Nogueira, Pardo. That’s the list.
Advised of his place in club history, Pardo was humbled.
“It’s so nice to hear, especially with the group of guys we have here,” said the 39-year-old goalkeeper from Queens, “The defense here is unbelievable. We’re a unique team when we play collectively.
The Sockers swept the series by an aggregate 15-1 score, dominating on both ends of the floor. Defender Cesar Cerda scored a pair of goals for San Diego, with Charlie Gonzalez, Felipe Gonzalez and Brandon Escoto also finding the back of the net. Chiles capped his hat trick with his team-leading fifth goal of the playoffs, a wicked half-volley at 6:59 of the fourth quarter.
“It’s nice to be on a title contending team with such a great group of guys,” said Chiles, in search of his seventh league championship, “As long as the group buys into defending the way we have, we’ll always find our chances in front of goal.”
The travel-weary Outlaws looked to take the air out of the ball in a sluggish first quarter, punctured by Cerda running on a ricocheted pass from Leonardo de Oliveira at the top of the arc for a slicing half-volley and a 1-0 lead at 4:03. The Sockers held their slim advantage into the quarter break.
The second quarter saw Chiles begin to exert his influence on the match, running between multiple Mesquite defenders in the crease. He left the ball off for Charlie Gonzalez to pounce in close quarters, delivering a left-footed strike at 5:15 for a 2-0 lead.
San Diego gained a power play with 5:19 left in the half on a roughing blue card penalty, and while they worked around solid possession in the second minute of the man advantage, they stayed with their attack and found joy just seconds after the penalty expired. Chiles served a ball from the right corner back in front of net for Felipe Gonzalez, who made a parallel run to goal from eight feet out, deflecting the ball over the line at 11:56.
Just as the half was about to end, the Sockers put an exclamation point on their dominance of the Outlaws. Defender Guerrero Pino lifted a long pass forward from just outside his defensive yellow line which grazed off the glass above goal and fell right to Chiles, a foot in front of net. Kraig tapped it in at 14:53 of the half for a back-breaking score, putting San Diego ahead 4-0 heading into halftime.
The third saw Cerda score from Charlie Gonzalez at 5:39, and Chiles smash in a direct free kick at 12:19. Chiles’ wicked golazo from Pino, struck first-time out of the air at 6:59 of the fourth quarter, kept the Easter Sunday crowd engaged. Brandon Escoto netted a direct kick goal at 12:46 to cap the scoring.
The shutout was threatened twice, both times on Mesquite power plays. Pardo’s diving save in the third quarter denying Luiz Morales was matched by a Snaer-Williams diving save with four minutes remaining in regulation. The rest was history, as the Sockers prepared for a Western Conference Finals showdown with either Chihuahua or Monterrey.
“We know both Monterrey and Chihuahua are very, very good teams and we’re gonna be ready for that series,” said Chiles.
The Sockers will await the conclusion of the Monterrey-Chihuahua series from Corner Sport Arena in Chihuahua on Monday night. San Diego will travel to Mexico for Match One, with the date to be determined by opponent. In the case of either series, the return leg with Match Two and a Knockout Game if needed will be held on Friday, April 21 at Pechanga Arena, kicking off at 7:35pm. Tickets are available now at sdsockers.com or by calling (866) 799-GOAL.