Eduardo Velez scored in the second overtime as the San Diego Sockers swept the Tacoma Stars with a 7-6 victory in Game 2 of their opening-round Major Arena Soccer League playoff series in front of 3,307 fans at Pachanga Arena San Diego on Saturday.
The Kent-based Stars finished the season 12-14.
Velez’s third and final goal of the night came with 3:35 left in the second extra period for the Sockers (25-1).
His first goal came on an assist from Cesar Cerda. Brandon Escoto notched the next two goals for a 3-0 San Diego lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.
The Stars scrambled back to tie it before halftime with Adam West launching a rocket past a four-man wall on a set piece with 2:49 to play in the opening frame. Vince McCluskey and Lamar Neagle then struck the net on assists by Nick Perera and Raphael Cox, respectively.
Velez gave the Sockers a 4-3 lead just 17 seconds into the third quarter, but Cox found Perera for the equalizer with 50 seconds left in the period.
Momentum shifted Tacoma’s way, and Dan Antoniuk gave the Stars their first lead of the game assisted by Pablo Da Silva with 14:19 left in regulation. The Stars were looking for some breathing room, and Perera came through with his second goal of the match with 2:57 on the clock.
San Diego pulled goalkeeper Boris Pardo for a sixth attacker, and it paid off quickly. Escoto took a Leonardo De Oliveira pass and sent it past Tacoma keeper Danny Waltman to cut the Stars’ lead to 6-5 with 2:19 remaining. Christian Segura sent the game into overtime with just 13.5 seconds remaining.
Despite several big saves by Waltman, San Diego eventually found the back of the net when Escoto connected with Velez on the Sockers’ 45th shot of the game to advance to the Western Conference final, where they will face either the Rio Grande Valley (Texas) Barracudas or the Monterrey (Mexico) Flash.
First quarter – SD, Velez (Cerda) 3:46; SD, Escoto (De Oliveira) 5:05; SD, Escoto 10:29; TAC West 12:11; penalties – none.
Second quarter – TAC, McCluskey (Perera) 1:06; TAC, Neagle (Cox); Penalties – SD, De Oliveira blue card (contact above the shoulder) 7:45; SD, De Oliveira yellow card (dissent) 7:45.
Third quarter – SD, Velez (Contreras) 0:17; TAC, Perera (Cox) 14:10; Penalties – none.
Fourth quarter – TAC, Antoniuk (Da Silva) 0:41; TAC, Perera 12:03; SD, Escoto (De Oliveira) 12:41- 6 attackers; SD, Segura (Ruiz) 14:47- 6 attackers; penalties – none.
Overtime – SD, Velez (Escoto) 6:25; penalties – none.
Shots –Tacoma 6-11-1-5-5 (28), San Diego 8-8-4-10-15 (45)
Attendance – 3,307
For 2019-2020 season tickets and other team information, visit tacomastars.com.