Sockers Cage Coyotes in 9-5 Season Opening Win
The 14-time champion San Diego Sockers began their 2017-18 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season with an 9-5 win over the El Paso Coyotes in Texas on Thursday night. Kraig Chiles led the team with three goals and two assists.
The first period featured frenetic action as both teams created quality chances. The Sockers broke through first on a goal by Erick Tovar from the side of the goal near the boards. El Paso answered quickly on a goal by Omar Tapia. San Diego’s newest addition Raymundo Contreras notched his first goal off an assist from Kraig Chiles to provide a short-lived 2-1 lead. The Coyotes again responded in a fast manner when Hugo Puentes tallied from Alex Carces.
Early in the second period, Cesar Cerda took a pass down the middle from goalkeeper Boris Pardo and slotted a shot past the Coyotes goalkeeper for a 3-2 lead. The Sockers extended their lead to 4-2 on a Matt Clare goal on Chiles’ second assist. Chiles converted a penalty kick after the Coyotes committed a foul in the penalty box. His first goal of the year was a bullet down the middle for a three-goal advantage.
Tapia scored his second goal of the match only 45 seconds into the third period off Sockers’ turnover in the midfield to get the Coyotes going. El Paso’s Christian Gutierrez took advantage of another Sockers turnover by Luan Oliveria and put his shot past goalkeeper Pardo to make the score 5-4.
San Diego reclaimed a two-goal margin when Ray Reza took a free-kick pass from Chiles at the top of the box and notched his first goal of the season. Minutes later, Oliveria atoned for his earlier defensive mistake after he passed to Chiles, which allowed him to net his second of the game.
El Paso did not quit as Jorge Ruiz scored an unassisted goal to start the fourth period. However, the Sockers captain, gave the team a three-goal lead off an assist from Tovar for his second of the game. San Diego added an empty net unassisted goal by Hiram Ruiz to seal the 9-5 victory.
San Diego returns to the Valley View Casino Center on Sunday, November 5. 5:05 p.m. against the Syracuse Silver Knights. It will be the home opener and Cancer Awareness Night. The first 3,000 fans will receive a free schedule magnet. Free parking and the gates open at 3:30 p.m.
NOTE: Story updated after correction on scoring summary.