Charlie Gonzalez and Tavoy Morgan each contributed a goal with two assists as the San Diego Sockers prevailed over the Mesquite Outlaws 7-2 at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
San Diego (10-0, 29 points) scored twice on the power play and controlled a Mesquite attack hampered by the loss of top scorer Luiz Morales to injury.
“Sometimes that can be tricky because you ease into the game thinking you have a big advantage,” said Sockers captain Kraig Chiles, of the shorthanded Outlaws. “We kind of stuck to our game, stayed patient and waited for our opportunity.”
Chiles added a goal and an assist of his own for the first-place club and on a series of winning streaks that has won 16 in a row at home and a MASL-record 30 straight regular season matches.
The Sockers out-shot the Outlaws 28-16. Sebastian Mendez scored two goals for the visitors, both unassisted.
They didn’t open the scoring though, due to a rare mistake. On a pass made through goalkeeper Boris Pardo, the ball hit a seam in the turf and hopped up Pardo’s leg, causing a turnover that spilled to Mendez at point-blank range for an easy put-in.
Mesquite (8-2-2, 24 points) followed with a miscue of their own, as a defender sent a simple aerial ball into the stands for defensive delay of game. San Diego was given a top-arc restart and Chiles responded, rolling to the low left for Leonardo de Oliveira’s one-touch goal and a 1-1 tie at 14:48 of the quarter.
The Sockers’ go-ahead goal came from defender Cesar Cerda for a 2-1 lead at 4:05 of the quarter, which San Diego held going into halftime.
A pair of power-play goals in the second half extended the lead. A tripping card against Mesquite’s JJ Oteze led to Morgan’s goal, a point-blank shot for his 12th of the season.
Gonzalez smashed home a loose ball in the crease for a 4-1 lead at 13:15 of the third, but Mesquite’s Mendez turned a Sockers defender along the wall then smashed a tight-angle shot into the upper 90 of the net for his second goal of the match and 16th of the season, making the score 4-2.
Socker Brian Farber responded though – the veteran midfielder pressured the keeper Eduardo Cortes, forcing a turnover that he deflected toward the goal and off Cortes, then leapt for the rebound, heading the ball into a yawning net at 5:52 of the fourth quarter. Peewee Ortega and Chiles finished the scoring, with Chiles converting a power-play goal at 14:10 to set the final margin.
San Diego now embarks on the toughest road trip on the MASL schedule this season, first heading up Interstate 15 to take on the Empire Strykers, which has won seven in a row heading into the weekend. The club will then head to Tacoma, Dallas, Mesquite, Chihuahua, and Monterrey.
“Yes, it’s going to be competitive but we’re ready to hit the road, come together, and compete in those games,” Chiles said.
The Sockers won’t be back in San Diego until March 4 for Alumni Night, when the Sockers will honor the 1982-83 championship team and host the annual Alumni Halftime Game. They face the Dallas Sidekicks.