San Diego Sockers Lose In MASL Semifinals, 23 Match Win Streak Snapped

The San Diego Sockers 23 match win streak and their championship hopes came to an end with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Monterrey Flash in the Western Conference Finals of the Major Arena Soccer League playoffs.

Miguel Vaca of Monterey scored the game winning goal just 54 seconds into sudden death overtime ending the Sockers season one game shy of hosting the MASL Championship.

“Heartbreaking, I’m devastated,” said Sockers midfielder Landon Donovan just moments after the loss. “It’s sad that it came to this end, you expect to win, so when it comes to this end you’re sad and disappointed.”

After Leonardo De Oliveira scored to give the Sockers a 3-2 lead late in the 4th quarter, the Sockers appeared to be on their way to the championship match, but a defensive breakdown allowed Monterey to tie the game with just 2:19 left in regulation.

Sockers coach Phil Salvagio said, “We made a bad change with two minutes to give them that tying goal.”

Then another breakdown, a season ending breakdown led to the golden goal.

When asked what he saw on the goal, here’s what Sockers Goal Keeper Boris Pardo said, “A marking was passed on and we lost our marking. He (Monterrey’s Vaca) had a clean look, I didn’t think the ball went in until that second bounce,  it hit the crossbar,  he hit it well, I guess fortune was favoring them tonight.”

Donovan was right behind Vaca and had a good look at the game winning goal.

“He hit it well, the guy hit an unbelievable shot.  Give them credit, someone had to make a play and be a hero and they were the hero.”

After the game, Socker players were stunned on the field, many in tears with the sudden, shocking end to their dream season.

 “You can’t put it into words, I feel really sad, we did such a great job on and off field and it’s sad to end like this,” said Salvagio.

Salvagio also said the team has a bright future with so many young  and talented players under contract for next season.

Will that future include the 36 year old Donovan? Will one of the all-time great American soccer players be back for a second season with the Sockers?

After circling the arena post game, and signing autographs and posing for pictures with every fan who remained, Donnovan said he will consider coming back.

“I would like to do it if they want me back if I have the opportunity,  but there are a few other things going on in my life that may preclude me from doing it, so we’ll see what happens. I had a great experience,  so much respect for the organization, fans, staff and Phil,  I am appreciative of what they did, took a chance and I had a lot of fun.”

The San Diego Sockers finish the season 25-2, but come up just shy of their 15th indoor arena soccer championship.

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