3 Things To Watch: SoCal Surf vs. OCSC U-23, PDL Matchday 8

By Nate Abaurrea
 
On the backs of one of the finest weeks imaginable, So Cal Surf welcome Orange County Soccer Club U-23s into the village of Carlsbad on Wednesday night. 
 
Surf are in the midst of a three-match win streak, a run that saw the PDL side pick up nine points in just six days, back-to-back 1-0 wins home and away against the So Cal Seahorses followed by a gutsy and impressive 2-1 win on the road versus the powerful Fresno Fuego. Those nine points have taken Surf from 6th place all the way up to 2nd in the PDL Southwest Division table. 
 
Surf picked up their first win as a PDL side one month ago, almost to the day, and it came against the very same opponents who will be arriving at the Army Navy Academy on Wednesday. Esteban Reyes scored the lone goal, the first competitive tally for the club, at Norco College on May 13th, a 1-0 win for Surf over their black-clad foes from Orange County. 
 
As the countdown to kickoff continues, here are three things to watch for as So Cal Surf host OCSC U-23s. 
 
Goalie like Wall: Adam Allmaras stellar for Surf
 
After surrendering the first goal of the season to San Diego Zest's Patrick McGrath in the fourth minute of the season opener on May 6th, it took almost 400 minutes between the sticks for Adam Allmaras to concede another. That goal came in just the second minute of Surf's most recent match, the 2-1 win away to Fresno Fuego. Allmaras has been immense for So Cal Surf this season, his play in the duration of the Fuego match very much making a brief battle with a wrist injury that kept him out of two matches look like a thing of the past. 
 
5 games played for Surf, 2 goals conceded, plus a penalty save against Ventura County Fusion, and some stunning stops against both the Seahorses and Fuego. It's been a treat for Surf fans to watch Allmaras this season, and there might not be anyone enjoying his stellar play more than the coaching staff at San Diego State University, where Allmaras will be playing his final collegiate season this coming fall. He has held the starting job for three consecutive NCAA seasons for the Aztecs, and with his form this spring and summer with Surf, Allmaras could be ready for his best season yet at SDSU. 
 
Slicing & Dicing: Adam Vargas dazzles in Fresno
 
Adam Vargas had already caught quite a few eyes this season with his electric play, pinpoint passing, menacing pace, outstanding touch and dribbling ability, and of course his bleach blonde hair. The 20 year-old Chula Vista native had notched three assists in Surf's opening six matches, but it was his performance at Chucksansi Park against the Fuego this past Saturday that has elevated Vargas to a new status of fan favorite. After equalizing for the visitors with an audacious and simply superlative chip late in the first half, Vargas buried a penalty kick in the 2nd half that proved to be the difference in Surf's valiant 2-1 victory away from home. While the final score of Fuego 1 Vargas 2 certainly brought some smiles and laughs, Vargas himself knew it was a full team effort, and the speedy winger is ready to keep his personal momentum going and in turn help this Surf team propel to new heights in the PDL. 
 
Depth at the Back: That Stingy Surf Defense
 
Adam Allmaras and fellow goalkeeper Will Whiddon will be the first to tell you that this Surf backline has been the main reason for the team's outstanding defensive record through seven matches. Surf have conceded just five goals on the season, three of them coming in a wild 3-2 loss to first place FC Golden State Force, the other two coming inside the opening four minutes to San Diego Zest and Fresno Fuego. 
 
What has been perhaps most impressive about Surf's defensive prowess is the cast of characters contributing to each performance. Andrew Stalboerger and Tim Liermann anchored the backline as the common center-back pairing in the opening handful of games, as the likes of Kieran Geldenhuys and Sasha Peranteau waited in the wings. Both of those men have been nails in their time on the pitch, leaving Surf Head Coach Cody Worden with one mighty nice problem to have. With Darion Mealing, Patric Krall, Jeff Powers, and Tyson Griffin pitching in plenty as outside-backs as well as in the middle when called upon, Surf have something every team desires; depth and dependability in defense. And above all, they're doing it with some swagger. 
 
A wise man once said that offense sells tickets, and defense wins the PDL... or something like that. 
 

Our Partners

Our Partners

Leave a Comment