SAN DIEGO (Friday, February 15, 2019) - Landon Donovan assisted on the game-winning goal in his Major Arena Soccer League debut as the San Diego Sockers defeated the Tacoma Stars by a 6-4 count in front of 8.492 fans at Pechanga Arena.
The Sockers (13-1) set a franchise record for attendance since 2009 while winning their eleventh consecutive match, with six different players for the home side netting goals.
“It’s awesome, and this team deserves it,” said Donovan of the rich atmosphere in San Diego and the record crowd, “It’s the best team in the league, the most storied franchise in soccer history, and the players deserve it. I think the crowd got to know a lot of these players tonight, see great goals, and their personalities shine, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
With the arena buzzing in anticipation of Donovan’s debut, it was another veteran midfielder who opened the scoring on the night, as Brian Farber raced onto a header assist from Taylor Bond off a set-piece, toe-poking in the goal with his right foot at 7:42 for a 1-0 San Diego first quarter lead.
San Diego took control of the match with a 4-0 second quarter, with most of the offense generated from the back line. Cesar Cerda’s wicked left-to-right dribble in the offensive zone turned into a go-ahead goal at 3:39 of the quarter, putting the Sockers ahead 2-1. Three minutes later, it was Bond’s wall pass finding an unmarked Juan Gonzalez in the crease for his first goal of the season and a 3-1 lead at 6:35 of the period.
Goalkeeper Boris Pardo (W, 13-1) earned his first assist of the season when he found Guerrero Pino on the bench wall at midfield with a distribution. Pino did the rest, turning his defender by letting the ball do the work along the southern wall and then taking four touches to the middle of the field before blasting his third goal of the season from the red line for a 4-1 advantage.
San Diego played without team captain Kraig Chiles (hamstring) and lost Farber to a hamstring injury in the second period.
Both teams now travel to Tacoma for the return leg of the weekend home-and-home series, as the Stars host the Sockers
Sunday night at 5:00 p.m. at ShoWare Center in Kent. The game will be streamed live on MASL.tv.