It was another busy road trip weekend for the Tacoma Stars as they faced the San Diego Sockers, as well as MASL upstart Atletico Baja..
On Friday, December 2nd the Stars dropped a 5-3 decision to long-time rivals San Diego. The Sockers dominated early on, scoring three goals before the end of the first quarter. After a surge of offensive pressure, the Stars decreased the lead thanks to a beautiful goal from Jamael “Juice” Cox before the halftime buzzer.
Stars Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky proved his mettle once again with another phenomenal halftime speech, and as a result the Stars came out firing. Two quick goals from Alex Megson and Derek “El Tigre” Johnson tied it all up at 3-3.
However, the Stars were unable to score a winner, and eventually the unrelenting pace of the Sockers proved too much, and sealed the final score at 5-3 in favor of the home side.
Despite relinquishing five goals on the night, the scoreline could’ve been far worse if not for the valiant efforts of Stars goalkeeper, Danny Waltman who notched a dazzling fifteen saves throughout the match.
With the first match of their weekend now behind them, the Stars had a day to rest up and enjoy some well needed “team building” exercises (aka enjoying the sunny beaches of San Diego) ahead of their date with Atletico Baja in Tijuana, Mexico.
On Sunday, December 4th the Stars were rested and ready to play hard against one of the newest addition to the MASL. Atletico started out strong with two opening goals thanks to clever moves to the inside. Stars forward Dan Antoniuk fought back and put a clever shot into the back of the net, finishing off a nifty pass from defender, Evan McNeley before the end of the first quarter. Atletico would strike twice in the second quarter, increasing their lead to 4-1 as the teams went into the half.
Federal Way native -- and Stars defender -- Troy Peterson took Sawatzky’s halftime talk to heart scoring the Stars’ second goal of the night only thirty-three seconds into the third quarter, thanks to a clever assist from Mike Ramos.
Atletico would continue their unrelenting attack and score five more times in the half, including a quick-fire goal that found paydirt only twenty-one seconds into the fourth quarter.
“Juice” got the Stars their third goal off of the second assist from Evan McNeley on the night. Stars Captain, Joey Gjertsen finished the Star’s scoring with a goal of his own, and an assist from defender, Chase Hansen.
The game would end with the Atletico Baja winning by a score of 9-4, subjecting the Stars to their longest losing streak of this young season. The two losses move the Stars down one spot in the divisional rankings and put them one game back from the Sockers.
The Stars return home after a four game road trip this Saturday, December 10th at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Doors open at 4:30pm so fans can watch the MLS Cup Final featuring Seattle Sounders FC on the stadium’ big screens. Admission the Sounders viewing party will require a ticket to the Stars matchup against the Ontario Fury that will kickoff at 7:35pm.
Fans will note that the Stars faced the Ontario Fury in their last home match-up in a victorious effort back on November 12th. It will mark the first of five consecutive home games for the Stars, which not only has them facing the Fury, but also the San Diego Sockers on December 18th for the Stars final matchup of 2016.