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The San Diego Sockers Record-Breaking Season

By Corinne Wilson

Entering the 2019 Ron Newman Cup Playoffs, the San Diego Sockers knew it would not be an easy road. With fierce competition, along with every team trying to grasp at the chance of winning the cup, the games were sure to be ruthless. Yet, ending up in the same situation as last year, one series win away from the finals, the Sockers must be disappointed with their early conclusion to the season. “It’s heartbreaking,” as stated by Landon Donovan for the coaches, players, and fans as well. But, let's go back to the beginning and recap the amazing year from the team. 📷

The Sockers have some of the best players, coaches, and staff in the league. Yet, probably the most major event to happen this season was the debut of Landon Donovan, the new flashy face of the organization and a world-renowned player who is regarded as one of the best American soccer players of all time. On February 15, for the first time, Donovan stepped onto the field in Pechanga Arena in San Diego and earned one assist in the Sockers 6-4 victory over the Tacoma Stars. The rest of the year he proved himself a valuable member of the team, which recorded a 23-1 record in the regular season. This ended with a bang in their 7-6 win against Monterrey Flash where two players, Brandon Escoto and Kraig Chiles, scored hat tricks; Escoto’s third being the go-ahead goal that helped secure the win. 📷


Then came the playoffs. To open the series against the Tacoma Stars on the road, the Sockers played a very physical and defensive game leading them to a 6-3 triumph, with two of the goals coming from defender Cesar Cerda, and 1-0 lead in the series. Leading up to the second game, at home, a long-time Socker and one of the most loved players in the franchise, Eddie Velez, stepped up to plate to compete as Kraig Chiles was serving a one-game suspension. Upon his return, Velez scored a hat trick to vault the Sockers series sweep in an exciting fashion with a 7-6 win in OT.

Making it through the first round the Sockers then faced their next opponent, the Monterrey Flash. However, this time who moved on would be decided in one game. With everything on the line the Flash got a 2-0 lead in the first quarter but the Sockers quickly bounced back with one goal from Chiles and two from Leonardo de Oliveira, making it 3-2. Nevertheless, the flash scored again late in fourth to tie it up. Ultimately, the Sockers record-breaking season ended with defeat 54 seconds into overtime with the Flash’s Miguel Vaca’s golden goal. Monterrey ended up losing 2-5 against the Milwaukee Wave in the Ron Newman Cup Final. But it’s important to remember it’s hard to get to the top, but even harder to stay there.


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