Sockers Down Sidekicks 5-3 In Preseason Match
Kraig Chiles’ power play goal at 5:06 of the fourth quarter snapped a 3-3 tie, and Cesar Cerda added an empty-netter from beyond midfield as the 14-time champion San Diego Sockers defeated the Dallas Sidekicks 5-3 in a Major Arena Soccer League preseason match at the Allen Event Center. Boris Pardo made eight saves in net to preserve the victory in San Diego’s lone preseason contest before the 2018-19 MASL regular season begins on December 16.
Brandon Escoto, Christian Gutierrez, and Travis Pittman added goals for the Sockers, who scored twice on the power play and once against a six attacker formation. San Diego rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 before controlling the final 25 minutes of play.
Making their return to the MASL after a one-year hiatus, the Sidekicks got off to a strong start to please the exhibition crowd at the AEC.
Dallas took advantage of a slow start by the Sockers with one-touch goals from inside the box by VcMor Eligwe and Cameron Brown for a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Sockers cut the deficit in half on a Brandon Escoto marker at 1:39 in the second period. Escoto, last year’s second-leading scorer for San Diego with 18-16=34 points, smoothly used a pass off the goal wall back to his own potent left foot for a clean finish inside the box and a 2-1 score.
Newcomer Christian Gutierrez tallied a power-play goal 9:17 to tie the game at 2-2. Gutierrez waited patiently in the right corner before slotting his strike inside the upper left-side netting.
Dallas regained the lead only 44 seconds after intermission as Brown notched his second goal of the game. San Diego equalized again at 12:12 on a Travis Pittman goal. Pittman, who last played in the MASL for the Baltimore Blast, joined the team in October as a free agent from the New York Cosmos (NPSL).
San Diego captain Kraig Chiles gave the Sockers their first lead of the contest with an unassisted power-play goal at 5:06 of the final quarter, short-siding a clinical half-volley to cap off an efficient man advantage in which the Sockers never lost possession.
Pardo saved some of his top heroics for the closing minutes, including a diving two-handed save in the final five to preserve the lead. The Sockers put the game away with a late empty-net goal by Cesar Cerda, netted from well beyond midfield, for the 5-3 final score.
The Sockers begin their 40th anniversary season on Sunday, December 16 at 5:05 p.m. against Rio Grande Valley at Valley View Casino Center. Season Supporter Memberships, group, and single game tickets are on sale now by calling 866-799-GOAL (4625) by visiting Sockers.com or AXS.com (Search: Sockers).