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 San Diego Sockers

Down But Not Out

April 19, 2024 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)
San Diego Sockers News Release

CHIHUAHUA, CHIHUAHUA, MX--The San Diego Sockers head home facing elimination, as the Chihuahua Savage controlled Match One of the Ron Newman Cup Western Division Finals, defeating San Diego 13-7 on Thursday night at Corner Sport Arena in Chihuahua, Mexico. The Sockers trailed 5-0 early in the second quarter and never recovered, suffering the most lopsided playoff loss in modern franchise history (dating to 2009). San Diego will have an opportunity to turn the series around on Sunday night when they host Match Two at 5:05pm from Pechanga Arena, with a Knockout Game possible if the Sockers are victorious.

Chihuahua continued their domination of San Diego this season, improving to 4-0 against the Sockers. Hugo Puentes paced the Savage offense with four goals and an assist, while team captain Roberto Escalante added a hat trick of his own. Savage midfielder Adriano Nuñez contributed a goal and four assists.

Facing the cauldron of emotion that is Chihuahua's home floor, where the Savage haven't loss since 2023 to an American team, San Diego found themselves unable to match the intensity of pressure applied by the hosts. Roberto Escalante scored at 1:00 to give the Savage a lead they would never relinquish. Miguel Angel Diaz and Bryan Macias scored at 6:54 and 9:42 in a 3-0 first quarter that put the Savage well in front.

Hugo Puentes got his first goal to put Chihuahua ahead 5-0 at 3:14 of the second quarter. The Sockers scored their only goal of the first half on a replay challenge, as head coach Phil Salvagio threw his flag to obtain aa foul in the crease and a penalty kick. Kraig Chiles converted the foul to make the score 5-1 at 5:34 of the quarter, and the four-goal deficit held into halftime.

Immediate goals by Chihuahua at :56 and 1:22 of the third quarter put San Diego behind 7-1, their largest deficit in the playoffs since returning to action in 2009. Christian Gutierrez and Leonardo de Oliveira notched goals to put the Sockers within four, but Roberto Escalante re-established a five-goal lead on the power play when San Diego was called for too many men on the floor. Tavoy Morgan answered at 10:15 of the third quarter for the Sockers, but San Diego conceded just 27 seconds later on Puentes' hat trick goal, making the score 9-4. Escalante and Chiles traded goals in the final minute to set a 10-5 score after three quarters.

The fourth quarter was marred by a fracas in front of the San Diego net, as Chihuahua's Santiago Ramos made contact twice with Sockers keeper Boris Pardo. Both sides saw multiple penalty cards, including a red card for Ramos. Goals by Gabriel Costa and Christian Gutierrez at 1:38 and 1:43 gave San Diego a momentary sign of life, but Erick Tovar scored a power play goal for the Savage at 6:55 to restore order. Puentes and goalkeeper Diego Reynoso (goal, two assists) added empty netters to set the final margin.

San Diego returns home on Sunday to host Chihuhaua, needing their first win of the season over the Savage to force a fifteen-minute Knockout Game immediately to follow. Any win by Chihuahua will push the Savage into the Ron Newman Cup Finals, where they will seek a second straight league championship. Tickets are available by calling (866) 799-GOAL or visiting


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