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Tacoma Stars weekend preview

The Stars kick off the weekend against the Wenatchee Fire in Tacoma on Saturday evening, followed by a Sunday afternoon match in Kent against the Las Vegas Legends.

Raphael Cox and the rest of the Stars can be seen twice this weekend.
Raphael Cox and the rest of the Stars can be seen twice this weekend.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It's not often in soccer that you'll see a team play competitive matches on two consecutive days, but that's what happens when you buy another team and finish its remaining schedule.

On Saturday at 7:30 PM, they will face the Wenatchee Fire in WISL action (Tickets here), with the ability to clinch the #1 seed in the playoffs with a win. The Stars will put their 100% record in WISL play on the line against a team fighting for a chance at the #2 seed and the ability to host a playoff game. The Fire is led by Adrian Espinoza, who is tied for 2nd in the league in scoring behind Tacoma's Derek Johnson.

Wenatchee currently sits third in the WISL table, 3 points behind Bellingham United, although Bellingham has a game in hand on the Fire.

Less than 24 hours after facing Wenatchee, the Stars will seek their first win in MASL against the Las Vegas Legends. The game will kick off at 4:00 PM at Kent's ShoWare Center (Tickets here). Las Vegas is currently in third place in the MASL's Pacific Division. They are led by Ivan Campos, whose 18 assists are 4th best in the league.

In MASL, the top 3 teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. The Stars are currently 4.5 games behind the last playoff spot with 6 games remaining, so the odds of getting into the playoffs this year are pretty long.

In WISL, the top 4 teams advance to the playoffs. As the Stars have a 5 point lead with 2 games remaining, they are very likely to host both the semifinal and the final (if they win the semifinal) next month.

If you're unfamiliar with the Stars players, here are some names to watch out for:

Duncan McCormick

The Sounders Academy alum started the season with the Stars before heading to Germany to train with a club there. He's back now and making his presence felt. Playing as a midfielder/forward, he scored a goal against San Diego last weekend to keep the game close before the Sockers pulled away with an 8-3 victory last weekend in his pro debut. Back in October, he scored the first goal of the season and added an assist for the Stars in an exhibition match against the Seattle Impact. The son of former Star and Sounder Dick McCormack, Duncan is already a second generation Star and Sounder.

Adam West

West is a former Sounder, having played with Seattle in each of their final two seasons in the USL First Division, making a total of 29 appearances. He is part of a defense that has only conceded 3 goals per game in WISL this season, while adding 2 goals of his own.

West is a Gig Harbor native and a UW alum. Since the Sounders moved to MLS, West has spent time with Tacoma Tide, Rochester Rhinos, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, FC Edmonton, and most recently Sounders U23. He recently signed with Louisville City in USL PRO for the 2015 season, where he is likely to play as a left back.

Derek Johnson

Nicknamed "Tigre", Johnson's path to pro soccer hasn't been easy. After graduating from Parkland's Franklin Pierce High School, he stayed as close to home as possible and played his college soccer with Pacific Lutheran Univiersity in NCAA Division 3. In the offseason, he played for local amateur club South Sound FC (who has partnered with the Stars to form the current team). In the summer prior to his senior season at PLU, he joined Sounders U23 after attending an open tryout and has spent each of the past 2 seasons with the club. Against San Diego, Johnson scored an off the wall goal. He is also the current leading scorer in WISL with 14.

In addition to McCormick, West, and Johnson, there are plenty of other recognizable names on the team. Raphael and Jamael Cox both have pro soccer experience. Joey Gjertsen is a Tacoma native who was able to use a successful USL career to attract the attention of the San Jose Earthquakes, where he played from 2010 until 2012. He played in the 2008/09 CONCACAF Champions League with Montreal, where he had 2 goals and 4 assists while starting all 10 matches. Defender Josh Phillips played for Gonzaga for 4 years before going unselected in the 2014 MLS Superdraft. He recently signed with USL PRO expansion side Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

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