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 San Diego Sockers

Sockers to Face Defending Champs Sunday

March 2, 2024 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)
San Diego Sockers News Release


The San Diego Sockers-presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego-continue a season-long four-match homestand as they host the defending Ron Newman Cup champion Chihuahua Savage on Sunday evening at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The match is set for a 5:05pm kickoff, and will be streamed live on Twitch channel @masl_soccer, simulcast in Spanish on canela.tv.

The Sockers (15-3, 43 points) owners of the best record in MASL history all-time at 164-34-5, hold a fourteen-point lead over the second-place Chihuahua Savage coming into Sunday. The Savage hold three matches in hand (15 played to 18 for San Diego), as well as the head-to-head tiebreaker (2-0). After winning the first two MASL Supporters Shields, San Diego is now twelve points behind the 19-0 Monterrey Flash, who are running away with the Eastern Conference. The Sockers are 60-5-1 over their last 66 matches (.909 winning percentage).

This is the third and final meeting of the regular season between the Sockers and Savage, who have faced one another in the MASL Western Division semi-finals each of the past two seasons. Chihuahua, who had lost the first six regular-season matchups against San Diego, has won both this season. The Savage came to Pechanga Arena and posted a 5-1 win on January 14 in head coach Genoni Martinez's debut, then held off San Diego south of the border with an 8-6 result on February 9. In the all-time series, the Sockers are 6-2 in the regular season against Chihuahua, and 3-3 in the playoffs (1-1 in the series).

On Friday night, San Diego used a four-goal third quarter to outpace the Empire Strykers by an 8-4 final score. Felipe Gonzalez netted his first hat trick with the Sockers and added an assist for a four-point match. Tavoy Morgan kept the ball moving from his target forward position, collecting a career-best four assists. Brandon Escoto added two goals and two assists, and Kraig Chiles scored his 476th career goal. The Sockers continued avoiding back-to-back losses dating back to March 13-14, 2021.

Chihuahua (10-5, 29 points) began the season 2-0, then had to endure a schedule of four straight matches against Monterrey, losing all four. Genoni Martinez was installed as head coach in place of Everardo Sanchez, and the Savage began their season turnaround by beating the Sockers at Pechanga Arena 5-1. The result was the start of an 8-1 run which included six straight wins. Chihuahua is 0-5 against Monterrey and 10-0 against all other comers. A dominant defense has powered the Savage surge, as Chihuahua is only conceding 2.78 goals-per-match during the Martinez era. The new head coach didn't come alone; his arrival also brought renowned veteran goalkeeper Diego Reynoso to the club, who now leads the MASL in GAA (2.82) and SV% (.786). The Savage average 6.6 goals-per-match, led by top goal scorer Miguel Angel Diaz (14 goals, 17 points) and top point-getter Hugo Puentes (11 goals, 19 points). Chihuahua has killed 13-of-16 penalties, an .833 kill percentage that is tied for first in the league. Defender and captain Roberto Escalante leads the Savage with 31 blocked shots.


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