San Diego Sockers Match Notes: Western Conference Final vs Monterrey
San Diego hosts playoff rival Monterrey on Sunday for a trip to the MASL Ron Newman Cup Final. The Western Conference Final rematch has one big difference from last season's 6-4 loss in Monterrey: the Sockers will be hosting the match instead of traveling south of the border. The entire regular season was played to earn home-field advantage for this contest. San Diego swept the season series 2-0, with a pair of one-goal wins: 7-6 (OT) on December 28 in Monterrey, and 7-6 on April 13 in San Diego.
Monterrey defeated Rio Grande Valley in the Southwest Division Finals with a pair of 5-4 victories, the second in overtime. The Flash attack is powered by three-time defending MASL MVP Franck Tayou, who led the league with 50 goals scored. Tayou added four goals in two matches against San Diego. Monterrey adds offensive balance with clutch goal scorers Miguel Vaca (22- 18=40 points), Edgar Gonzalez (24-11=35), and Brayan Aguilar (15-13=28), who leads the Flash with 3-1=4 points in the playoffs. Goalkeeper Diego Reynoso (18-4, 4.94) can be a difference maker protecting the nets.
The Sockers enter the game with a healthy roster and momentum after their epic win on Saturday night. Kraig Chiles (4-1=5) and Brandon Escoto (4- 0=4) led the team in scoring versus Monterrey during the regular season.
CHILES RETURNS FROM ONE-GAME SUSPENSION
Kraig Chiles served his one-game suspension on Saturday and will return to the lineup for the Western Conference Final on Sunday. Chiles was suspended for contact above the shoulder in Game 1 against Tacoma on Friday.
SOCKERS ARE SPREADING THE GOAL WEALTH
In the two games against Tacoma, San Diego had eight different players score the team's 13 goals.
ESCOTO LED THE TEAM IN SCORING
MVP candidate Escoto (32-23=55) led the team in points (55) in the regular season and is leading the team in the playoffs as well (3- 2=5). He had hat tricks on April 13, March 24 and April 20 and was named the MASL's Player of the Month in January.
VELEZ IS THE UNLIKELY HERO
Velez (3-0=3) was the unlikely hero in the 2OT win over Tacoma. Replacing the suspended Chiles, he tallied a hat trick and the GWG. He had only five goals during the regular season in 13 games.
CERDA MAKES A STATEMENT
Cerda (2-1=3) led the Sockers with two goals in Friday's 6-3 Game 1 win over Tacoma, including the club's first short-handed goal of the season.
LEAGUE-BEST DEFENSE IN THE REGULAR SEASON
San Diego allowed a league-best 92 goals against this season (2. MIL, 97). The Sockers led the MASL last season (2017-18) in fewest goals allowed with 82.
NEAR PERFECT WHEN LEADING
San Diego is near perfect when having a lead after the 1st quarter (12-1), at the half (13-0), and after the 3rd quarter (17-1).
MAKING A HABIT OF WINNING CLOSE GAMES
The Sockers continued their habit of winning the close games, as they are now 12-1 in games decided by 2 goals or less, 3-0 in 1-goal regulation games and 6-0 in overtime after the 2OT win over Tacoma.
CELEBRATING OUR 40th ANNIVERSARY
The Sockers are celebrating their 40th anniversary this season. The team wore the iconic 1980s MISL-era retro jerseys on January 11 and April 7.
HONORING RON NEWMAN
The San Diego Sockers family was deeply saddened by the loss of Ron Newman, a legendary figure both on and off the soccer field, and remembered specifically as the most successful and innovative head coach in indoor soccer history. He passed away on August 27, 2018 at the age of 84.
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Major Arena Soccer League Stories from April 27, 2019
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