Sockers Roll To 7-2 Victory Over Ontario
Tavoy Morgan netted a first-half hat trick and Boris Pardo stopped 14 of 16 shots faced, as the San Diego Sockers built up a 5-0 lead in Ontario, holding on for a 7-2 win over the Fury on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Arena. The Sockers (4-0-1) beat the Fury for the second time in three games, taking seven of nine available standings points in the three-match series.
“We came out to finish our chances and were strong on defense as well,” said Morgan, who leads the Sockers with eight goals in four matches, “The game-plan from Coach (Salvagio) was to be aggressive, go forward, and be tight defensively. We played well as a team.”
Kraig Chiles had a goal and assist and now has 593 points in his career (combined PASL and MASL). Christian Gutierrez scored a pair of goals, with Juan Manuel Rojo rounding out the goal scorers for San Diego. Leonardo de Oliveira contributed a pair of assists to the effort.
“I think we’re proud of the fact that we bounced back from last week’s result,” said defender Mitchell Cardenas, “That shows true character and our team has a lot of it.”
San Diego could take pride in their defensive effort, particularly against four-time MASL MVP Franck Tayou. Entering the three-match set with nine goals in three games, Tayou was held to one goal (an own goal off San Diego’s Juan Manuel Rojo) and one assist, and leaves the set still one point away from 400 in his MASL career.
“It’s a whole-team effort, right?” said Cardenas, who traded off with Guerrero Pino as the primary defender on Tayou over the three matches, “It’s not a one-on-one game here. It’s a good effort from everybody defensively.”
The Sockers controlled pace and possession in the first half, and were rewarded handsomely for their efforts. Using pressure to disrupt the Ontario attack, defender Guerrero Pino stole a loose ball at midfield and created a counter-attack. Brandon Escoto’s wall pass was slammed home by Chiles at 5:38 for a 1-0 first-quarter lead.
Less than a minute later, Sockers defender Cesar Cerda deflected and stole a pass, and found Tavoy Morgan open just outside the offensive zone. Morgan spotted Ontario keeper Chris Toth off his line and launched a long shot, sneaking his volley just inside the right post for a goal and a 2-0 lead at 6:25. The Sockers held the two-goal advantage into the quarter break.
With Ontario increasing the offensive pressure, San Diego was able to find a perfect counter to boost their lead. Leonardo de Oliveira snuck out of a mid-wall double team and sent a lead pass for Christian Gutierrez to chase down. The lanky forward got to the ball a step ahead of Toth, who had come all the way out to his yellow line, and used one touch with the outside of his right foot to roll the ball in, good for a 3-0 advantage at 4:31 of the second quarter.
Two more goals by Morgan pushed the edge to 5-0 Sockers, the second on a perfect wall pass off the foot of former Fury midfielder Juan Carlos “Charlie” Gonzalez at 12:58 of the second quarter.
“It was beautiful,” said Morgan of the pass, “It’s something we worked on in practice, and finally it happened in today’s game. We’ll be looking for more in other games coming.”
San Diego had seen themselves cough up a 5-1 lead last weekend, and when Jorge DeLeon got a fortunate bounce in the crease and slotted it home with just 1:27 left in the first half, the score-line was once again 5-1 Sockers. The Fury clawed back another early in the third quarter when Franck Tayou’s centering pass clanged off the legs of Rojo and into the net.
In a familiar position, the Sockers hunkered down and kept their defensive shape. San Diego blocked twelve shots, including three apiece for Pino and Luis “Peewee” Ortega. The Sockers killed off a pair of Ontario power plays in the game, then got their own man advantage with 5:37 left in the fourth quarter on an Israel Sesay boarding call. Gutierrez smashed home an open shot from the top of the crease on a Leo pass, and the game was all-but-over, the Sockers leading 6-2 at the 9:58 mark.
“This time we knew the situation, knew what we needed to do…we stuck to the plan and came out victorious,” said Morgan of the second-half effort.
Juan Manuel Rojo finished off the scoring in a familiar way, scoring off the leg of a Fury defender at 11:19 to wrap up the scoreline. Ontario (3-3) got goals from DeLeon and Franck Tayou, and saw keeper Chris Toth stop 7 of 14 shots against. The Fury out-shot the Sockers 28-22 for the match.
Now with a five-point lead in the MASL West standings, the Sockers travel south of the border for two matches against the Chihuahua Savage next weekend. Friday’s match from the Corner Sports Center in Chihuahua is scheduled for a 7pm kickoff, with Saturday’s rematch set for 6pm. The matches will be streamed on MASL TV, with the Sockers doing an English-language rebroadcast in real-time on the club’s Twitch channel, twitch.tv/sandiegosockers.
After another trip to Ontario on January 26, San Diego will return home on Friday, January 28 for a 7:35pm kickoff against the Tacoma Stars at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Tickets are available for Star Wars Night by going to sdsockers.com/tickets or calling (866) 799-GOAL.