The San Diego Sockers capped a memorable season, capturing their second consecutive Major Arena Soccer League championship and 16th indoor title on Sunday night.
Kraig Chiles snapped a 3-3 tie in the third quarter as the Sockers went onto register a 4-3 victory over the Florida Tropics to secure the Ron Newman Cup at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif.
Chiles, who was named the game’s MVP, connected from just inside the red line on the left side as the Sockers held on to win their 16th indoor crown in franchise history.
In Game One of the championship series, the Sockers defeated the Tropics, 6-3, on Monday, May 2.
It was the second indoor title the organization secured this season as the Sockers captured the M2 championship, defeating the Cleveland Crunch.
The Sockers, who finished the regular season unbeaten (23-0-1) came out flying, rolling to a two-goal advantage in the opening 3:50 at Ron Newman Field.
In fact, they struck only 66 seconds after kickoff as Brandon Escoto ripped a shot from atop the penalty area past goalkeeper Rainer Hauss at the left near post.
San Diego almost doubled the lead but Hauss denied Juan Manuel Rojo at 2:12. The hosts, however, did get their second goal as Tavoy Morgan tallied from close range at 3:50.
The Tropics, however, squashed the hosts’ momentum and equalized with two goals of their own.
Victor Parreiras received a right-wing cross from Ricardo De Queiroz Diegues and converted it past goalkeeper Boris Pardo at 9:50.
Only 47 seconds into the second quarter, Breno Oliveira and Lucas Teixeira teamed on a give-and-give as the former scored from the right side for a 2-2 deadlock.
The Sockers grabbed a 3-2 lead on Escoto’s second goal, off a Chiles assist, from the right side of the penalty area at 3:44.
The hosts were given a power play after Florida’s Zach Reget was assessed a blue card for holding at 12:18, but the Tropics were able to kill off the man disadvantage.
Hauss was outstanding in the opening half, making 14 saves; several of them were spectacular.
The Tropics knotted it up it up again, at 3-3 at 2:53 of the third quarter as Ricardinho Sobreira slotted home a typical indoor soccer goal, a JP Reyes rebound off the left end boards.
Chiles restored the Sockers lead at 4-3 at 6:19 of the period as he powered a shot from outside the box on the left side.
San Diego could have given itself some breathing room during a power play that started at 7:58 of the final quarter after JP Reyes received a blue card for fouling Tavoy Morgan. But the Tropics killed it off.
With about six seconds remaining in regulation, Pardo produced a vital save to keep the Tropics from scoring the equalizer.