The playoffs await for Turlock's only professional sports team.
This weekend, the Turlock Express will face off with the San Diego Sockers in their quest for the Ron Newman Cup – the grand prize of the top-tier Professional Arena Soccer League.
The two-leg playoff will see Pacific Division runner-ups Turlock (9-7) take on the dominant Pacific League Champion San Diego Sockers (15-1), with games in San Diego and Las Vegas.
The series kicks off at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Turlock and the Sockers will then face off again at 7:05 p.m. Sunday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. If the same team does not win both games, the victor will be decided by a 15-minute game immediately following game two.
In just the team's second year of PASL play, the Turlock Express has reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Three Express players – Ivan Campos, Adrian Gutierrez, and Bronil Koochoie – rank in the top 15 in scoring league-wide.
But the Sockers should represent a stern task: San Diego lost only one game this season, falling 6-5 in overtime to the Dallas Sidekicks on Jan. 27. That loss was the Sockers' first in more than two years; San Diego brought a 48 game win streak into the match, the longest in professional sports history.
The Sockers are the most successful team in PASL history, having won back-to-back-to-back championships. Since the team's 2009 founding, San Diego has won both the PASL championship and the U.S. Open Cup of Arena Soccer each year.
The Turlock Express played the San Diego Sockers once this season, on Jan. 5. The Sockers fell 11-7 in that contest.
Turlock had a 6-5 lead at the half, but scored only one goal in the second half while the Sockers scored six. The Express also failed to capitalize on and kill the power play, going 0-2 on the power play while allowing San Diego to score on two of three attempts.
Should Turlock win, the Express would advance to the Ron Newman Cup semi-finals on March 10, to be played at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.
TurlockCityNews.com will provide extensive, live, on-site coverage of the Express's playoff run, thanks to Turlock Poker Room (TPR). Major sponsors of the Express, the TPR donated their sponsor travel and accommodations to local media outlets to improve local awareness of Turlock's only professional sports team.
Seats for Saturday's playoff game in San Diego start at $10. Parking is free, and the game will be preceded immediately by another PASL Divisional Playoff match-up, with the Southwest Division Champion Las Vegas Legends (13-3) taking on the runner-up Toros Mexico (7-9) at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are available on sdsockers.com, or by calling (866) 799-GOAL.
Seats for Sunday's game in Las Vegas start at $12 for kids and $20 for adults. The doubleheader will also include a 4 p.m. match-up between Las Vegas and Mexico. Tickets are available at lasvegaslegends.com or by calling (702) 233-3600.
The San Diego Sockers will provide live audio broadcasts of the playoffs at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/2057666.
To follow and support the hometown team, like Turlock Express on Facebook.
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