SAN DIEGO — As Nuke LaLush said in the movie Bull Durham, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” Well, obviously it didn’t rain on Ron Newman Field at the Pechanga Arena San Diego for the Sockers game on Saturday, but the Sockers did lose by a 5-4 decision. This is the first loss for the Sockers at home in 16 matches (dating back to the 2017 Western Conference Finals, leg 1 against Sonora).
The Captain, Kraig Chiles opened the scoring just 97 seconds into the contest. He took control of a bad clearance from Tacoma’s Danny Waltman and put it into the top shelf where the good stuff is for a 1-0 Sockers lead and his third goal of 2018-19. Just over a minute later Waltman redeemed himself. He triggered a breakaway on a long throw that was put into the bottom left corner of the net by head coach/forward Nick Perera for his fifth goal on the young campaign. Brian Farber closed out the quarter with his first goal of the year with just 27 seconds left in the quarter. Farber ran a give and go with Chiles just inside the top of the crease.
After a flurry of action over the last two minutes of the quarter it was capped off by Joey Gjertsen’s third tally of the season. Tacoma corralled a long clearance by the Sockers just outside of their defensive zone. A long pass to the top of the box by Chase Hanson lead to the half volley by Gjertsen.
While on the power play, Tacoma’s head coach (who also happens to be a forward) Nick Perera passed to Matt Clare who was at the half board. Clare tossed it to Adam West who was just outside of the red line, bent it like Beckham with a laser off his left foot to the top left corner of the goal to give Tacoma the 3-2 lead.
After an injury to Hiram Ruiz (he would return to action just a few minutes later) along the right boards gave the Sockers a free kick from the red line. Travis Pittman triggered the play and passed it to Raymundo Contreras who was about six steps away from the left boards. Contreras put a shot on net with some considerable pace and it leveled the game at three-all.
Just as a penalty to Tacoma was finishing up the Sockers took the lead for the final time on the evening. Brandon Escoto tapped the ball over to Leonardo De Oliveira who in turn back kicked the ball towards the net. While goalkeeper Waltman stopped most of the shot, he didn’t stop it all the way as the photo shows until the ball had completely crossed the goal line.
The final stanza of the contest was all Tacoma. After a hammer of a shot from Guerrero Pino missed wide the ricochet found Tacoma’s Cory Keitz who passed to Raphael Cox. Cox let a shot go but it was wide, the rebound was gobbled up by Alex Megson who finished off the attack from just inside the top of the box to a wide-open net and a four-all score line.
What turned out to be the final goal of the night was brought about by constant Tacoma pressure.
With the ball just being saved on a header attempt, Perera gathered and fed West. West was still outside of the red line by a good ten feet unloaded a blazing strike that was ticketed for the top right corner, Boras Pardo had no shot at being able to save. As Sockers Chief Marketing Officer Craig Elsten said on the broadcast, “as good of a shot as you will see.”
In an attempt to even the score, the Sockers played the final 2:23 with an empty net, but even with the extra attacker on, it didn’t matter.
The Sockers will travel to Turlock to face the Express on January 4, 2019 before playing host the following night to the Ontario Fury. That match begins at 7:05 on Ron Newman Field at Pechanga Arena San Diego. It will be the first of two straight home games against the Fury.
Tonight’s player of the match would be Adam West who scored two second half goals. A very close second Matt Clare in his return to San Diego. Clare the longtime Socker was traded to Tacoma during the off-season and ended up with a very pretty assist and some high-quality shots.
1st Quarter: Shots on Goal: Tacoma 7, San Diego 4
1:37 — SD Kraig Chiles (3rd) (unassisted) 1-0
2:50 — T Nick Perera (5th) (Waltman, 1st) 1-1
14:32 — SD Brian Farber (1st) (Chiles, 2nd) 2-1
2nd Quarter: Shots on Goal: Tacoma 5 (12), San Diego 9 (13)
14:37 — T Joey Gjertsen (3rd) (Hanson, 3rd) 2-2
3rd Quarter: Shots on Goal: Tacoma 4 (16), San Diego 11 (24)
3:41 — T Adam West (2nd) (Clare, 1st), 3-2
7:12 — SD Raymundo Contreras (1st) (Pittman, 1st), 3-3
9:49 — SD Leonardo De Oliveira (2nd) (Escoto, 3rd), 4-3
4th Quarter: Shots on Goal: Tacoma 7 (23), 9 (33)
3:43 — T Alex Megson (1st) (Cox, 2nd), 4-4
12:37 — T Adam West 2 (3rd) (Perera, 7th), 5-4
5:01 — SD 2:00 Pushing (Ortega)
5:01 — T 2:00 Pushing (Cox)
7:53 — T 2:00 Pushing (Perera)
1:49 — SD 2:00 2-footed tackle (Chiles)
7:35 — T 2:00 Kicking (Clare)
Power Play: Tacoma 1-2, San Diego 0-3
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