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San Diego Sockers Match Notes

February 25, 2021 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) - San Diego Sockers News Release

The San Diego Sockers (3-2), presented by Kaiser Permanente, continue a MASL season unlike any other, as they travel to The Show-Me State of Missouri for the second time this season, locking horns with the St. Louis Ambush (4-6) for contests on Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the Family Arena in St. Louis. The Sockers are coming off a 2-1 trip to Florida from Thursday to Sunday last week, and are playing on consecutive weekends for the first time this season. The unusual COVID-influenced scheduling has had the club active for only three-of-nine Match Weeks so far.

Last week saw San Diego escape from Lakeland, Florida with a pair of wins during the "Sunshine State Showdown" between the Sockers, Florida Tropics, Ontario Fury and Tacoma Stars. The competition began with San Diego absorbing a 5-1 loss to Ontario on Thursday evening, before rallying to beat the Tropics 4-3 in overtime the following night. Sunday morning saw the Sockers hold off Tacoma 4-2, giving San Diego back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Sockers have been steadied so far by a defense that has been unforgiving to opposing attacks. San Diego has allowed only 3.6 goals-per-match so far in 2021, the stingiest total in the MASL (Ontario is second at 4.4 goals conceded). Goalkeeper Boris Pardo currently leads the league in save percentage (.765) and goals-against average (3.48). While not having enough minutes to currently qualify, William Vanzela has been just as strong in net for San Diego, with a save percentage of .818 and goals-against average of 3.23.

The Ambush (4-6) have not played since February 12, a 9-5 loss to the Kansas City Comets. St. Louis has dropped three straight matches, affected both by COVID illness as well as serious injuries. MASL Rookie of the Year Duduca Carvalho is out for the season due to injury. Thirteen days in-between matches should result in a healthier and more dangerous St. Louis lineup. The Ambush are integrating in talented imports Jerjer Gibson and William Eskay from Harrisburg, on loan after the Heat postponed play until the winter. Defender Vadim Cojocov leads the Ambush with six goals, while Max Ferdinand (2-8=10) holds the club's points lead. Goalkeeper Paulo Nascimento is a unique double-threat: his save percentage is a very respectable .712, while his skill with the ball at his feet makes Paulo an attacking option in the fourth quarter. Nascimento already has a goal and assist from the keeper position this season.

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