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Sockers shutout Sol 2-0 in PDL opener

Going into their U.S. Open Cup Game on Wednesday, most of the Sockers team had only been with each other for a few days and some players arrived even later. They have had little time to get acclimated to each other and to their style of play. However, Mother Nature decided to award the squad with some extra time to get acquainted before taking the pitch for the first Premier Developmental League contest of the season. A waterlogged field pushed the season opener from a Saturday underneath the lights to Sunday under the hot Albuquerque sun. The sun wasn’t the only star to bring the heat in Albuquerque on Sunday. 
 
The Sockers came out firing on all cylinders in the first half. Tucker Hume opened the scoring summary by slotting home a pass from Kamron Crow followed by a brilliant strike from a set piece by Andrew Fox.
 
Albuquerque had their chances, but the defense, led by returning starters Isaac Sanchez and Walker Hume, didn’t allow them to have any solid looks at goal.
 
The offense netted two goals, but had countless number of quality chances. Possession was evenly distributed throughout the match and both teams passed the ball well. In the end, aggressive play by the Sockers’ wing players and their ability to finish was enough to open the PDL season on the right foot.
 
The Sockers made it clear they wanted to score early in the contest to set the tone. Fabio Pena squandered an early opportunity off of a corner kick that he headed just over the top bar. In the 12th minute, after a great buildup starting in the back, Kamron Crow played a ball into traffic near the six yard box. Tucker Hume, who had two assists in the Open Cup win on Wednesday, was able to get loose from his defender and slot it just passed the Sol goalkeeper to put the Sockers on the board.
 
Fast forward 12 more minutes into the match and the Sockers had given themselves a two goal cushion. “Foxy,” playing inverted as a left-footed right winger, was able to cut inside and lose his defender. The defender made a final effort to stop the charging Fox, but ended up fouling him about 23 yards from goal. Fox then took full advantage of the opportunity by curling a strike into the corner of the near post for a 2-0 lead. That lead would hold for the duration of the match and gave the Sockers their first PDL win of the 2015 campaign.
 
Coach Barnes was elated with the play of his team after less than a week together. Isaac Sanchez, a member of last year’s squad, was very effective from his position as an outside back, completing multiple runs and playing great balls into attacking areas. Tucker Hume, who netted 4 goals and 5 assists in the 2014 season, is off to a hot start with a goal and two assist through two contests. Andrew Fox, referred to by the team as “Foxy”, and Andrew Lopez have been jolts of brilliance thus far in the season, providing the Sockers with scoring threats from the midfield. They will be asked to fill the void left by Rory Knibbs, Richard Yeverino, and Conrad Goulborne, who combined to score 13 goals last season. If they can continue this goal-scoring tear combined with their brick wall defense, Sockers FC could be bound for an excellent 2015 campaign. 
 
The Sockers will be back in action on Wednesday, May 20 against the Oklahoma City Energy of the professional USL in the 2nd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It is their second home match of the season, both coming in the Open Cup. Grande Communications Stadium has been kind to Matt Barnes during his tenure as head coach, where he has gone 4-2-2 and scored a hefty 17 goals. A win would give the Sockers another historic moment in their first Open Cup invitation. The gates will open at 7:00pm and kickoff is scheduled at 7:30pm. 


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