HARRISBURG, PA-The San Diego Sockers are tough to stop right now, even when their offense is a bit off-target.
Tavoy Morgan scored twice and Juan Manuel Rojo contributed a goal and two assists, as the Sockers (7-0, 20 points) held off the Harrisburg Heat 5-3 on Saturday night at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. The same two clubs will square off Sunday afternoon in a 2:05pm PST contest.
The Sockers won their seventh straight to start the 2022-23 campaign, moving at least temporarily back into first place in the MASL Western Conference. The club extended its all-competitions win streak to eleven straight, their road winning streak moved to sixteen in a row, and San Diego has won 27 consecutive regular season matches. In their last 48 contests, the club is 44-0-4.
The Sockers out-shot their opponent 32-10 but were unable to shake the Heat (1-7, 3 points), who were bolstered by goalkeeper Chase Vosvick’s 19/23 saves performance in net. Boris Pardo (W, 7-0) was rarely challenged but came up with two big fourth-quarter saves, part of a 7/10 performance.
As has been their style this season, the Sockers started off the opening quarter by organizing their defensive shape and ensuring no opponent attack, while looking for their chances to play through the target forward. While San Diego handled possession and out-shot the Heat 10-2, their best chance came on a Chiles shot off the crossbar with three minutes remaining.
The Sockers played without stalwart midfielders Brandon Escoto (illness) and Hiram “Pollo” Ruiz (lower body), and switched up the lineup, with Luis “Peewee” Ortega moving from defender into the midfield. Ismael Rojo made his season debut in the defensive line for San Diego, and used his size and unusual speed to track back on a counter-attack opportunity with two minutes remaining to deny a good chance on net. The match was scoreless after fifteen minutes.
The first goal of the match came against the run of play on a counter-attack through Malcolm Harris, whose driving shot from the right wing was just wide of the post. As the Sockers tried to emerge from their zone, Matt Braem stepped in to steal the ball, slide a pass to Harris now on the left wing, and then celebrate as Harris smashed a precise shot into the upper-right netting for a 1-0 Heat lead at 4:11 of the second quarter.
San Diego answered when Tavoy Morgan showed why he is an elite target forward, positioning his body to…