With the playoffs rapidly approaching, here’s a look around the PASL – 1-17-13
By Paul Bottoni
A 6-2 win over the Chicago Mustangs (9-3) on Jan. 12 gave the Dallas Sidekicks (9-1) a one-game lead for first place in the division. It was a defensive struggle through much of the game. A key to the Dallas win was the Sidekicks’s ability to shut down Nestor Hernandez, who is second in the league in points (26 points, 11 assists). The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Dallas, whose next four games — three of which are on the road — include two matches against the San Diego Sockers (9-0), and matches against the Rio Grande Valley Flash (5-4) and the Las Vegas Legends (10-1). Meanwhile, the Mustangs have a slightly easier road, with upcoming matches against Rockford Rampage (6-5) and the Harrisburg Heat (3-7). Rio Grande Valley holds down third place in the division, followed by Rockford at fourth and the Texas Strikers (0-9) in fifth.
The Detroit Waza (10-1) sits atop the division with a three-game lead over the second-place Cincinnati Kings (7-4). The third through fifth spots in the division are held by the Harrisburg Heat (3-7), Illinois Piasa (2-9) and Ohio Vortex (1-9) respectively. The Waza offense has been a score-by-committee attack, with four players with 10 or more goals for the season. Detroit’s remaining schedule features a few challenges, including two games against the Kings, and a match against the Chicago Mustangs. Meanwhile, Cincinnati will face Detroit, Illinois and Ohio twice each to round out the season.
The Las Vegas Legends (10-1) hold a four-and-a-half game lead over the Mexico Toros (5-5), followed by the Arizona Storm (4-6) in third and Phoenix Real (3-7) in fourth. Forward Enrique Tovar has been a large part of Las Vegas’s success — Tovar is third in the league with 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists). Among its final regular season matches, Las Vegas will play division leaders San Diego and Dallas at home. Mexico will have four consecutive road matches before playing Rio Grande Valley and San Diego at home in its final two games.
The San Diego Sockers (9-0) remain the last undefeated team in the PASL, and maintain a four game lead over the second place Turlock Express (6-5). The Anaheim Bolts (5-5) sit in third, a half-game behind the Express. The Tacoma Stars (3-6) follow in fourth place, and the Sacramento Surge (0-10) rounds out the division still searching for its first victory of the season. Sockers forward Kraig Chiles leads the league in points with 47 (38 goals, 9 assists). San Diego will only play two of its remaining seven games at home, while Turlock will play four of its remaing five matches at home.