Dallas Stun Sockers, End San Diego’s Record Streak With OT Victory

6-5 Overtime win ends America’s longest professional winning streak

By Steve Kinkead

Allen, TEXAS _ The Dallas Sidekicks shocked the San Diego Sockers with a 6-5 overtime victory this evening at the Allen Events Center. With the win, the Sidekicks ended the longest US professional sports winning streak at 48 games. Forwards Jamie Lovegrove and Shaun David collected all the Dallas goals, while the Sidekick’s veteran goalkeeper Sagu had a brilliant game in goal. Lovegrove had 4 of Dallas’ six goals and David scored the overtime winner with his second of the night.

The Sidekicks never trailed, but the game was a battle of nerves as San Diego twice came back from two goal deficits and tied the game with 6 seconds left to send it to overtime. Dallas showed why it has the best goals against average in the league with some solid defense and Sagu’s excellent goalkeeping. Time after time he came up with the big save, including the overtime period.

Lovegrove’s fourth goal of the evening had put the Sidekicks ahead heading into the final quarter and it looked like Dallas was heading for the win. It was not quite to be as the Sockers tied the game with just six seconds left. Sagu again stepped up in the overtime, keeping the ball out of the net before finding David on a breakaway for the game winner.

As the game got underway, San Diego had some very good opportunities to score in the first quarter, but was unable to convert. Instead, Dallas jumped out to a 2-0 lead, using the long ball perfectly to continually threaten San Diego.  The first goal came on just such a ball, with Renato Pereira sending a pass down the right sideline. Lovegrove got the ball behind the San Diego defender and hit a perfect shot to the far post, opening the scoring with just over five minutes gone in the game.

Another five minutes went by and Dallas doubled their lead. This time it was David getting the goal off an errant pass from San Diego keeper Riley Swift. Swift was out of his net and looking to pass across the top of the arc, but David jumped in front of the defender and drilled the ball into the back of the empty net. The quarter ended with the Sidekicks up 2-0, just the start they were looking for.

San Diego came out with a vengeance in the second period and finally got on the board with ten minutes gone. Not long after killing off a San Diego power play, the Sidekicks gave the ball away at midfield. A series of nice passes ended at the feet of  Kraig Chiles alone in front the Dallas net. The league’s leading goal scorer added to his gaudy total with an easy goal from there. It didn’t take much longer for the lead to evaporate, as the Sockers scored on a wicked shot from Anthony Medina that beat Sagu high.

The third quarter was wide open with the five goals scored. It was Dallas that got on the board first from a spectacular combination that began and ended with Lovegrove. He received the ball on the left side just past midfield and passed along the boards towards Pereira. With his teammate going toward the goal, Pereira hit the ball straight into the boards on the left side. It rebounded back to Lovegrove in front and his one timer put Dallas on top with just over a minute gone in the second half.  Just another minute later and Lovegrove had his second hat trick of the season. After getting the ball from Cody Ellis along the right side, he made a nice move to beat his defender and put in his third of the evening.

San Diego took the wind out of the crowd on the ensuring kick off. San Diego took the ball into the Dallas zone, where Mike Mercurali found Raymundo Reza for the Sockers’ third goal. The game was tied at four with just over seven minutes gone in the quarter. Aaron Susi got the ball on the run for the Sockers and took it into the corner before passing back to the trailing Reza for the goal. Only a minute had gone by before Dallas had the lead again at 5-4. Lovegrove got his fourth goal of the evening with a nice assist from Ricardinho.

The fourth quarter was tense but it looked like Dallas would go home a winner as the final seconds ticked down and the crowd stood on its feet. The Sockers were not about to let their record streak end, though. They pulled Swift from goal and brought on an extra field player with two minutes to go, then got the tying goal with just six seconds left in regulation. Chiles was sitting in the Dallas end hoping for a miracle and he got one. After San Diego got the ball in its end, Brian Farber brought it into the Dallas half with just one defender covering the two attackers. After the Dallas defender came to him, Farber passed to Chiles who made no mistake for the tying goal.

In the overtime San Diego came out flying, looking to catch Dallas down after the end of regulation. Sagu was a force, though, and kept the Sidekicks in it. After a San Diego possession, Sagu collected the ball and saw David heading the other way. The Dallas player outfought his defender for the long throw and shot the winner before the San Diego keeper could get to him. An outstretched Riley Swift managed to get a hand on the ball, but it was not enough to keep it out.

The Dallas celebration was well-deserved as San Diego’s winning streak came to an end. The win also puts the Sidekicks in excellent position for the postseason. Dallas sits atop the Central Division with a 10-2 record, ahead of Chicago at 10-4. The Sidekicks have four games left, with a tough road trip to Las Vegas and San Diego coming up this weekend. They return home for the final two regular season games on February 9th against the Rockford Rampage and the Texas Strikers on February 23rd.

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