MASL Pechanga Arena
The Sockers celebrate their second championship in a row at Pechanga Arena Sunday. Photo credit: @MASLarena, via Twitter

The San Diego Sockers outscored Florida in the first quarter of their Sunday finals match, but the Tropics kept coming back to tie it up – until late in the third quarter.

After captain Kraig Chiles put his team up 4-3, the Sockers held on to the slim lead for good, capturing the MASL’s Ron Newman Cup and locking down their 16th championship.

With the win at Pechanga Arena, the Sockers took the best-of-three series in two games, and secured their second league title in a row.

Chiles was named series MVP.

Brandon Escoto added two goals, while Tavoy Morgan also scored. Boris Pardo earned the win in goal.

The Sockers were undefeated during the regular season, dropping their only game in the semifinal round of the playoffs on the road against the Chihuahua Savage.

The got off to a quick start Sunday as the Tropics, who had the MASL’s second-best record, fought to stay alive.

Escoto opened the scoring at 1:06 of the first quarter, and Morgan added a goal just over two minutes later off an assist by Guerrero Pino.

Florida answered at 9:50 as Victor Parreiras made it 2-1 thanks to an assist from Ricardo De Queiroz Diegues. The Tropics would tie the game in the opening minute of the 2nd quarter with a goal by Breno Oliviera, off an assist by Lucas Teixeira.

The game tipped in the Sockers’ favor again almost three minutes later as Chiles got the ball to Escoto, who scored.

San Diego took the 3-2 lead into the half, but at 2:53 of the third quarter, Tropic Ricardinho Sobreira turned a JP Reyes assist into the game-tying goal.

Chiles answered with his game winner at 6:19, putting it in the upper corner after another Pino assist. Then defenders reigned for the remainder of the game on both sides, leading to the Sockers’ 4-3 victory.

The good news carried throughout the weekend, as Pardo earned Goalkeeper Of The Year. He was the only Socker to win one of the league’s top honors.

Pino was among three finalists in the Defender of the Year category. The league named Morgan a finalist for Most Valuable Player and the Joseph Cairel Award, for the most passionate and inspirational player. Coach Phil Salvagio contended for Coach of the Year.