The San Diego Sockers are league champions again, for the 15th time in franchise history.
The Sockers defeated the Ontario Fury 2-1 Sunday evening in Ontario to capture the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) championship.
Cesar Cerda scored the title winning goal with 56 seconds remaining, then the Sockers held on for their championship lives.
After Cerda scored, the Fury put an extra attacker on offense and threatened the Sockers goal with multiple shots in the final seconds, but the Sockers defense and goalkeeper William Vanzela held off the charge.
The championship winning goal came on a beautiful play that featured teamwork and individual talent. Vanzela played a long ball to Sockers captain Kraig Chiles. Chiles corralled the ball with his chest, then flipped it over his head to a streaking Cerda, who one-timed it with his right foot into the corner of the goal.
56 seconds later the Sockers were hoisting the Ron Newman Cup awarded to the champions of the MASL. The cup is named after longtime Sockers head coach Ron Newman.
As he celebrated on the field minutes after the game clock struck zero, Sockers goalkeeper Boris Pardo told NBC 7, “It’s an unbelievable feeling. It went down to the last second, number 15 we bring it back home, the Ron Newman Cup belongs in San Diego.”
Chiles said, “We didn’t make it easy on ourselves, but it’s going to make it that much sweeter when it’s all said and done. This one means a lot to us.”
After beating Ontario on Friday in the first game of the Ron Newman Cup Finals, the Sockers started Sunday needing one win to claim the cup.
But it was not easy.
Ontario scored in sudden death in game 2, for a 6-5 overtime victory thus forcing a 15 minute mini-game to crown the champion. In the mini-game, the Fury scored first before San Diego rallied for the tying and winning goals.