Sockers Deny Patriots, Claim 3-2 Victory

Nava in This House: Sockers Deny Patriots, Claim 3-2 Victory
MIDLAND, TX—Sockers FC (1-3-1, 4 points) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the El Paso Patriots (1-3-1, 4 points) on Saturday night at Grande Communications Stadium, moving them into a three-way tie for fourth in the Premier Development League’s Mid-South division.
Faced with a 2-1 halftime deficit, the Sockers dominated the second half, and Juan Nava and Kal Herbert led the comeback effort with the game-tying and game-winning goals, respectively.
The always-intense rivalry between the two clubs had an extra element this night, after Patriots fans were involved in an altercation in the stands following their last meeting on May 11.  Additionally, El Paso had made several roster changes since then, including adding a new coach from Mexico’s most elite professional league.
Despite these augmentations, the Sockers rejuvenated offense proved too much.  After the Patriots opened the scoring on Hugo Samano’s goal just two minutes into the match, Herbert set up forward Len Smith’s equalizer in the 25th minute. 
During the 42nd minute, Sockers defender Tyler Tarango was called for a foul in the penalty box, earning him a yellow card and giving the Patriots a penalty kick opportunity.  Patriot forward Enrique Cervantes converted the try, giving El Paso a 2-1 halftime lead.
The Sockers controlled the ball throughout the second half, outshooting the Patriots, 8-3.  In the 75th minute, Sockers midfielder Andres Maldonado won an impressive challenge at midfield and followed with a nifty outlet pass to Vitalis Atemafac.  Atemafac, then, passed to Nava, who blasted a shot past Patriots goalkeeper Agustin Rey. 
At the 83rd minute, Herbert clinched the win with his first goal of the season. 
Sockers goalkeeper Nicholas Petolick made his first start of the season, recording six saves. 
Perhaps the most significant development from the match, however, was the continued emergence of Nava.  A PDL veteran with the Laredo Heat, Nava has played only 186 minutes this season.  In that short time however, he has recorded a goal and an assist, tying for third on the team with three points.  As is minutes increase, the Sockers expect him to be a dynamic piece of the offense.

After playing four of their first five matches at home, the Sockers now embark on a three-game road trip that will take them to Laredo and El Paso (twice).  Their next home match is June 27 versus the Heat. 

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