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Stars lose in San Diego, win in Bellingham

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Tacoma is still looking for its first MASL win but managed to finish the WISL regular season with a perfect record.

"El Tigre" added 2 more goals on Saturday in San Diego
"El Tigre" added 2 more goals on Saturday in San Diego
Wilson Tsoi/TacomaStars.com

Saturday night's match between the San Diego Sockers and the Tacoma Stars opened with each team getting a goal in the first 15 seconds. 17-year old Evan Mundine, a former youth star that was forced to step away from soccer to battle Crohn's Disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and ulcerative colitis opened the scoring 6 seconds into the match. Mundine had signed a one-day contract with the Sockers worth $2000. Steve Mohn scored for the Stars 15 seconds into the match.

Despite those early goals, both sides settled down defensively quite a bit for most of the rest of the first half. San Diego added a second goal in the second minute of the game, but Tacoma's Chris Raymond evened up the score at a very appropriate time: 2:53 into the second quarter.

There were good chances for both sides as the second quarter progressed until Tacoma was shown 3 blue cards resulting in San Diego power plays within a 6 minute time period in the middle of the second quarter, with 2 of those power plays resulting in goals for the Sockers. That proved to be the difference at halftime, as San Diego held a 4-2 lead. It looked like Tacoma had a chance of responding and pushing for its first win in MASL, but it wasn't in the cards in this match.

The Sockers came out strong as the second half began, scoring 3 goals in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter before adding 2 more in the final minute of the quarter. As the fourth quarter began, San Diego led 9-2. Tacoma's Derek "El Tigre" Johnson managed to record a brace in the fourth quarter, to bring his MASL total to 5 goals in 5 games, all of those coming in matches against likely playoff teams. He is up to 19 all competition goals this season, making as strong an argument as anyone that he deserves a spot on the team in the MASL next season. Despite El Tigre's best efforts, San Diego scored 4 goals of their own to win the game 13-4.

Chris Raymond finished the game with a goal and an assist, bringing him to 2 goals and 1 assist in the pro league. Steve Mohn opened scoring with his second goal of the MASL season. Vince McCluskey recorded his third assist of the MASL season but it was his first with the Stars. He previously had two assists in the only game he played for Sacramento.

Up in Bellingham, the Stars faced their toughest competition in the WISL in Bellingham United. Bellingham took an early 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Stars would respond to tie the game at 4-4 at halftime, as Ed Watembe scored his second goal of the game. Each team added 2 more goals in the third quarter to put the score at 6-6 going into the fourth quarter. Tacoma scored 3 goals in the fourth quarter to pull away and preserve its perfect record in the semi-pro league.

The Satellites traveled a group of fans to Bellingham to support the Stars in the final WISL regular season game:

Back home in Tacoma, South Sound FC (essentially the Stars' third team) fell 10-3 in PASL action to division leaders Olympic Force. After taking a 3-2 halftime lead, the Force pulled away in the second half, making the Stars teams 1-2 on Saturday evening.

Tacoma/South Sound FC returns to MASL/WISL/PASL action next weekend, when it hosts the Oly Town Artesians on Saturday in the WISL semifinal at the Tacoma Soccer Center at 7:30 PM. The last time the teams met, Tacoma posted its biggest win of the season. This time, Tacoma will have to rest some players for the MASL match on Sunday against the Turlock Express at the ShoWare Center at 4:00 PM in the final MASL home game of the season. For fans in the Tacoma area, Doyle's Pub is providing a bus up to the ShoWare Center for the game.

South Sound FC is also currently scheduled for home games on Saturday and Sunday evenings, but it isn't clear how that will work with the Stars playing a home game at the TSC on Saturday night.