March 18, 2023 – Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) – San Diego Sockers News Release
SAN DIEGO — For thirty minutes, the San Diego Sockers looked like a lost club on the floor. For thirty minutes after, they looked like back-to-back MASL champions.
Christian Gutierrez scored twice during a six-goal outburst after halftime, as the Sockers came from behind to post a 6-4 win over the Monterrey Flash on Friday night at Pechanga Arena. San Diego (17-2, 49 points) won their eighteenth straight at home, but needed a huge second half effort to pick up the three points.
“We can’t play the first half like that, and let teams get ahead of us, but we did show a lot of heart,” said head coach Phil Salvagio, “There was no yelling (at halftime), it was very positive. Let’s come back and see what the Sockers are made of.”
San Diego showed their mettle with a 4-0 third quarter. Sockers captain Kraig Chiles was in the middle of it, delivering a goal with two set-piece assists. His gorgeous curving service on a right-wing free kick at 9:13 of the third quarter found Leonardo de Oliveira’s extended right foot for a sharply-struck go-ahead tally and a 4-3 lead.
Chiles blamed a hard week of training, in which San Diego had the rare opportunity to utilize the floor at Pechanga Arena for three straight nights, as the reason for the club’s first half struggles.
“I knew we were a little bit ‘leggy’ coming into this match,” said Chiles, who moved into a tie for the team lead with (19-12=31) points, “When we get into this arena, we have a tendency to really want to train hard and use every minute of it, and I think it cost in the first half. We were able to kind of rebound in the second half.”
San Diego trailed Monterrey (10-7-2, 29 points) 3-0 at the half, looking every bit leg-weary and disconnected. The crowd sat in stunned silence as the Flash rattled off two goals in succession at the end of the first quarter and start of the second quarter, pushing the visitors from Nuevo Leon ahead by the 3-0 score. The Sockers shut out the Flash for the next 43 minutes before conceding a late six-attacker goal in the fourth quarter.
To do so, San Diego leaned on all-MASL goalkeeper Boris Pardo, who stopped 9-of-13 shots, eight in the second half. His one-handed diving stop against Carlos Bocanegra in the third quarter denied a possible equalizer, and Pardo made three saves against the six-attacker formation in the late fourth quarter.
“To allow only four goals to Monterrey is quite an…
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