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Sockers Turn Back St. Louis : Soccer: Wright scores two goals, and San Diego defense befuddles Storm in 7-4 decision.

From Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Wright finished what the Major Soccer League’s stingiest defense started Friday night.

Wright scored two second-half goals, and the Sockers’ defense shackled the St. Louis Storm for 55 minutes to spark the defending MSL champions to a 7-4 victory at the Arena.

The game was played in front of a crowd of 15,457, a St. Louis franchise record and a season high for the league.

The Sockers (8-5) pulled to within a half game of league-leading Wichita with the victory, their second in three games this season against the Storm (5-9).

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Wright, who has 13 goals and one assist in the past five games, knocked a 30-foot line drive past a wall of defenders in the third period to give the Sockers a 4-1 lead. Early in the fourth period, he sprinted past a defender on the right side and fired from 50 feet, freezing Storm goaltender Jim Gorsek.

Wright’s long-range heroics deflated the Storm, who managed only three third-period shots.

“We did a tremendous job defensively, just smothering everything they had,” Sockers Coach Ron Newman said.

St. Louis’ prolific scoring duo of Perki and Segota were negated. Preki had an assist and Segota two goals, but all came after the game was out of reach.

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“The defense stayed back and shut down Segota and Preki,” Socker defender Ben Colins said, “and as long as you shut them out, they don’t really have anyone else to score. . . . the whole defense contributed in making sure they were never free to operate.”

The Sockers’ Tim Wittman broke a scoreless tie at 1:38 of the second period. He flicked the ball at Gorsek, and, when it popped into the air, Wittman outjumped defender Greg Muhr and headed the ball into the goal.

Paul Dougherty beat defender John Klein and assisted Kevin Crow on the Sockers’ second goal four minutes later. It was Dougherty’s team-leading 13th assist of the season. After Gorsek was whistled for tripping, Thompson Usiyan made it 3-0 on a shootout.

Daryl Doran got the Storm’s first-half goal on a power play.

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“We just kept chipping away at their defense,” Newman said, “and suddenly we were up 7-1.”

Jacques Ladouceur and Dougherty--who stretched his consecutive-game scoring streak to eight--tacked on goals after Wright.


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