Texas Outlaws win playoff opener vs San Diego

The fourth-seeded Texas Outlaws took the first of a three-game series against the top-seeded San Diego Sockers with an empathic 6-4 win on Saturday. The Outlaws came in having lost their last game, and the Sockers lost their last two in the regular season. So both teams went into the playoff-opening series looking for a statement win to start their playoff push.

The 1st period saw the Outlaws come out swinging with Vinicius Dantas opening the scoring, by squeezing his shot past the keeper off a central pass from Jorge Deleon on the wing just three minutes into the game.

The Sockers had their first big chance with 8:37 left with Felipe Gonzalez having a chance to equalize after Outlaws goalkeeper Pollo came out to save the ball from Leonardo De Oliveira. After pulling the keeper out he squared it off to Felipe who squandered the chance by kicking the ball into the post of the open net.

With 3:23 left in the first a thunderous strike by Outlaws defender Andy Reyes flew past two Sockers defenders and into the top corner of the goal increasing the lead to 2-0 and ending the quarter comfortably.

It would be a good start for the Sockers in the second as a free kick was given to them at the edge of the Outlaws box at 13:49. Drew Ruggles first timed a quick pass from Kraig Chiles into the back of the net got the game back within reach to make it 2-1.

It only took David Ortiz 13 seconds to respond as he corralled the ball bouncing around the box and off the wall and redirected it in making it 3-1 and regaining the 2-goal lead.

At 11:05 Outlaw midfielder Brenden Lee went down grabbing his right knee after successfully stopping a promising Sockers attack from Gabriel Costa, and would not return to the game.

The first blue card of the game occurred with 7:22 left in the half as Luiz Morales was hip-checked by Mitchell Cardenas of the Sockers, knocking Luiz and two other players down by the momentum, giving the Outlaws a power-play.

Just before the two-minute power-play was over the Sockers were in on a one-on-one with the strike by Felipe hitting Pollo in the face getting the save, but going down and getting examined on the field. Pollo stayed in the game after a talk with the trainer.

With 3:55 left Ruggles struck the ball with Pollo getting a hand on it to thwart his chance but the ball came back to him. With the second shot against an open net, he ended up hitting the wall to end the attack.

Uzi Tayou received the first blue card for the Outlaws with 3:07 left in the first half after he accidentally hit Costa in the face with his cast. Less than thirty seconds later during their power-play, Charlie Gonzalez scored after a long cutback pass from Oliveira making it a 3-2 game.

The score would remain 3-2 at the half with the Outlaws rattling the Sockers team by getting the lead to start and not looking back.

The game became much tighter and testy in the second period after both teams received blue cards and the Sockers managed to test the Outlaws’ defense.

Early on in the third, a blue card was given to Ortiz after he tripped the attacking Tavoy Morgan who looked to be in on goal. Just after the power-play was over, Darren Mitchell broke through for the Outlaws with a defender trying to close down, he powered his shot into the bottom of the net leaving no chance for the keeper, and making it a 4-2 score.

With 3:58 left in the third Morgan intercepted a misplaced pass by Pollo who managed to right his mistake by saving Morgan’s shot.

In the fourth at 8:26, Dantas squared off a pass to Sebastian Mendez with his shot making Pardo reach back and save it causing a Sockers counterattack. Brandon Escoto dribbled past the Outlaw defense and passed it off to Chiles who made the game a one-score affair at 4-3.

Once again, it took the Outlaws less than a minute to respond to another Sockers goal. Emmanuel Aguirre scored from just inside the yellow line with Pardo unable to get anything onto the ball making it 5-3.

The Sockers quickly subbed out their keeper Pardo for Charlie so they could have six outfield players to try and get the game close again.

This plan backfired as the Outlaws saw their biggest lead of the night with 3:15 left in the game, as Ortiz scored from just inside the halfway line into the open net. He jumped on the wall in celebration to an eruption of cheers from the crowd with Ortiz shouting to keep the energy up in the crowd.

Just before the game was over Cardenas scored a consolation goal for the Sockers with just seconds left on the clock to have it end a 6-4 game.

Even though the regular season saw the Sockers win all three games the teams faced each other, the Outlaws showed that the regular season doesn’t mean the same as the playoffs.

With the first game going to the Outlaws, they will want to keep the momentum on the road for the second game being played in San Diego on Monday, April 8th, at 9:30 pm CT.

Outlaws roster

Goalkeeper – Eduardo “Pollo” Cortes

Defenders – Emmanuel Aguirre, Stephen Gonzales, Andy Reyes,  Cody Ellis, Uzi Tayou

Midfielders – Jorge Deleon, David Ortiz, Darren Mitchell, Brenden Lee, Erik Macias, Sebastian Mendez,

Forwards – Luis Morales, Vcmor Eligwe, Vinicius Dantas

Sockers roster

Goalkeeper – Boris Pardo

Defenders – Guerrero Pino, Drew Ruggles, Cesar Cerda, Mitchell Cardenas, Luis Ortega

Midfielders – Christian Gutierrez, Flavio Guzman, Felipe Gonzalez, Leonardo De Oliveira, Julian Garcia,  Brandon Escoto, Charlie Gonzalez,

Forwards – Tavoy Morgan, Juan Salazar, Kraig Chiles, Gabriel Costa


Mitchell Cardenas (Blue card) – 2nd period 7:22

Uzi Tayou (Blue card) – 2nd period 3:07

David Ortiz (Blue card) – 3rd period10:39

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