Sockers Road Woes Continue In Texas

The road has turned into an unforgiving place all of a sudden for the San Diego Sockers.

Anthony Powell had a goal and two assists, and the Mesquite Outlaws’ defense held San Diego without a goal in the run of play, as the Sockers dropped a 5-3 decision on Friday night at Mesquite Arena. Kraig Chiles netted a goal and assist off restart plays, and Leonardo de Oliveira scored late in a six-attackers formation, but for the majority of the match, the San Diego (12-6) offense was held in check.

Determined to keep five behind the ball in a structured defense, Mesquite (6-12) looked for counter-attack opportunities in the first half. J.J. Oteze’s counter down the right flank, triggered by Powell’s breakout pass, led to the first goal of the match at 9:53 of the opening quarter, and a 1-0 Outlaws lead.

Given their only power play of the match with 1:07 left in the first quarter, the Sockers were shut down for the end of the opening frame, but equalized to start the second. Off of a defensive clearance and top-of-the-arc restart, Chiles waited for the Mesquite wall to flinch before hooking in his team-leading 17th goal of the season for a 1-1 tie, just nine seconds into the quarter.

With the game turning into a battle between the attacking lines and in the midfield, the Outlaws used key turnovers to build out their lead. Bradley Baladez won a ball away from the San Diego defense on the midfield wall and sent in Cody Ellis, whose short-post shot found its way home for a 2-1 lead at 6:56 of the second quarter.

Later, with the Sockers defense stretched on a Mesquite counter-attack, goalkeeper Boris Pardo came to the edge of his crease to block a 1-v-1 attack from Powell. The Mesquite midfielder retrieved the ball off the save and tipped it to an oncoming Omar Tapia, who slotted his fourth goal since coming to the Outlaws, good for a 3-1 score at 11:44.

San Diego’s top offensive weapon has been the restart for weeks, and Chiles cashed in on the club’s next top-of-arc chance, rolling a left-wing pass to Travis Pittman, who smashed a right-footed volley into the top netting for his fourth goal of the season at 12:28. The 3-2 Mesquite lead held until halftime.

The third quarter saw tight and tense defense from both sides for almost the entire frame. A back-breaking (and eventually, game-winning) score from Mesquite would punctuate the quarter, as Powell fronted the San Diego defense like a center would in the low post in basketball, wheeling 1-v-1 into the crease and finding room for a point-blank goal at 14:20. The Outlaws lead 4-2.

Jorge DeLeon’s goal 2:51 into the fourth quarter grew the Mesquite lead to three, and the Sockers’ offense found no answers in the final twelve minutes. Leonardo de Oliveira’s 11th goal of the season from Eduardo Velez, who was wearing the sixth attacker’s jersey, at 10:36 concluded the scoring.

San Diego now travels to Allen, Texas for a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Dallas Sidekicks. The match will be shown on MASL.TV starting at 1:05pm San Diego time. The Sockers are hosting a watch party at The Dana on Mission Bay for the match.