However, the second half of the season might provide a few answers as the team prepares for tougher engagements with the Las Vegas Legends on Jan. 18 and Feb. 5, and back-to-back with the Dallas Sidekicks, Jan. 27 and Feb. 1. Each of these teams registered 6-2 records through December and, like the Sockers, scored lopsided victories.
An omen to these Sockers challenges came with a needed come-from-behind verdict over the Turlock Express recently, 11-7.
Up to now, the campaign has been a series of mismatches and easy double-digit triumphs, whether at home or away.
At any rate, they’re assured of a prominent spot in the March 10-11 playoffs with Turlock again as a formidable opponent.
Despite scant local media attention, the Sockers continue to play before a loyal core of over 4,600 fans at the Valley View Casino Center on Sports Arena Boulevard.
Of course, the Sockers are stretching the all-time professional sports win string, but are far from the sport’s all-timers. That would be the University of Cincinnati girls’ basketball team that won 90 in a row or John Wooden’s UCLA cagers, who claimed 88 straight.
They have topped the United Indoor Football Sioux Falls Storm’s 41 consecutive win mark (2005-08) and far exceeded the Los Angeles Lakers’ win streak of 33 straight.
A few nights ago, the league’s leading scorer, Kraig Chiles, continued with his dominance with a hat trick and Aaron Susi tacked on two goals and two assists as the Sockers overcame a halftime deficit to beat Turlock. A Sockers’ Professional Arena Soccer League record crowd of 4,680 watched San Diego outscore the Express 6-1 in the second half after trailing 6-5 at intermission. It was the first time the Sockers had trailed at the half since a 3-2 deficit in Tijuana on Dec. 9, 2011.
“Turlock came out with a lot of energy and put us on our heels. They played very well,” said Susi, the Sockers captain who posted his fifth four-point game of the season. “Good teams get wins even when they don’t play their best, and we did that.”
San Diego responded with a renewed defensive energy in the second half, limiting the Express to no shots on goal in the third quarter.
“This looks like a team we may face in the playoffs,” said San Diego head coach Phil Salvagio. “There were some nerves at halftime, but we came out with great determination in the third quarter and got the win.”
Despite allowing their highest goal total of the season, the Sockers extended a remarkable defensive streak, holding their opponent under double-digit goals for the 31st straight game.