San Diego Scores Twice in Last Minute to Steal Win

Sidekicks Fall to Sockers on Last Second Goal

By Steve Kinkead

The Dallas Sidekicks fell to the San Diego Sockers on Friday evening, 5-4, losing the game on a last second goal. Despite the loss, the Sidekicks completed a successful road trip with a win the previous night in Las Vegas and are now just one win away from a playoff spot.

The game in San Diego was reminiscent of the one played in Allen last Sunday, a 6-5 overtime win for Dallas that snapped the US professional sports record winning-streak. It was physical and hard fought throughout, but this time the Sockers came out on top, scoring not one, but two goals in the last minute of regulation. This win begins a new streak for San Diego although the Sidekick’s entry into the league ensures that the road to another record will be harder to accomplish, especially if future games between these two sides are as competitive as their first two matches have been.

The game started with both teams having some good opportunities and both goalkeepers coming up with big saves. In what would become an unfortunate habit for the Sidekicks in the game, the Sockers scored late to close out the first period with a 1-0 lead. Eddie Velez netted for the home side with just 21 seconds left in the quarter, the assist coming from Aaron Susi.

The first quarter saw a total of seven fouls, one blue card against Dallas and one yellow card against San Diego. But that was nothing compared to the second quarter. A total of 14 fouls were called, with one ejection, one yellow card and six blue cards – three on each team. In the first minute Dallas’ Kiley Couch was called for a tripping foul and given a blue card, but two San Diego players took matters into their own hands. Mike Mercurali was given a blue card for striking and Brian Farber was ejected for his retaliatory punch. Two San Diego blue cards later gave Dallas a sustained power play and two-man advantage. Frank Mbemba scored his 18th goal to tie the game and the assist came from Shaun David.

Still on the power play, Nick Stavrou shot the Sidekicks into the lead 32 seconds later. Not long after that another San Diego blue card in the penalty area gave Dallas a shootout opportunity. Keeper Riley Swift made an outstanding save on Jamie Lovegrove to keep Dallas’ lead to just one goal. The Sockers went on a power play in the final minutes of the half and Kraig Chiles, the league’s leading scorer, headed in the tying goal with just 20 seconds to go.

The third quarter saw more physical play, fouls and cards, but no goals. The fourth quarter had a rare score from a keeper when Riley Swift punted towards the Dallas net. Dallas goalie Sagu made the initial stop but couldn’t control the ball, and it fell in for the score, putting San Diego back on top. Dallas tied the game less than a minute later when Nick Stavrou scored his second of the game and seventh on the season. The Sidekicks went back on top in the 13th minute off an own goal that was credited to Renato Pereira. San Diego again scored late, this time with two goals in the final minute to take the win. Chiky Luna scored to tie the game at 14:19 and it looked like another overtime. But, Dallas’ Ricardinho got his third foul of the game and the subsequent blue card gave San Diego one final power play. With one second on the clock, Velez scored to give the Sockers the victory.

Dallas head coach Tatu picked up two yellow cards and will have to sit out the next game, which happens to be the night the Sidekicks retire his jersey. That game takes place Saturday, February 9th at 7 pm in the Allen Events Center against the Rockford Rampage.  A win in one of the final two games guarantees the Sidekicks a playoff spot.

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