A small quirk on the schedule this year saw two-time Ron Newman Cup finalists Soles de Sonora visit the Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent on back-to-back nights. The Stars knew the 1-9 Soles squad would provide a tough test and the Stars would need to keep forward Franck Tayou in check.
Saturday’s game was played in front of 3,487 fans, featuring the championship teams from Washington Youth Soccer. Things started off even for the two squads with neither team striking in the first frame of play. However, Soles grabbed a two nothing lead as the second quarter passed via goals from Tayou and Victor Quiroz.
After the half, Soles added to their lead with goals from Enrique Canez and Tayou. Head coach Darren Sawatzky would rally the troops, and they responded admirably. It would be Vince McCluskey scoring the first goal for the stars, then cutting it even closer as, with only three seconds left in the third quarter, Chase Hansen would score his first goal of the evening. The Stars were within two with the fourth quarter looming.
Suddenly, everything went of the rails for the stars. Soles scored five straight goals, with three of those coming from Tayou, who ended up with four on the night. The Stars would score two consolation goals, courtesy of Chase Hansen Jamael Cox. The match would end 10-4 favor of Soles.
With the loss the Stars dropped their forth straight, falling to 2-6 on the season.
They say familiarity breeds contempt, and having seen a lot of each other the past few seasons, things were bound to get nasty.
Both teams scored early goals, starting with a strike from Evan McNeley for the stars, only to see to it equalized two minutes later by Daniel Lopez from Soles.
Play began to get physical and slightly dirty as the teams began to step on toes and clip heels. Eventually things got so bad that a Soles player left an elbow up as Duncan McCormick challenged for the ball, drawing blood. McCormick would leave the field and not return for the rest of the half. The teams would leave the field fuming and deadlocked at one apiece.
Emotions toned down for the second half, but Franck Tayou would quickly for Soles, making the score 2-1. After Philip Lund equalized for the Stars, Trevor Jensen scored to get the Stars the 3-2 lead. Tayou tallied a second goal late, leaving the score tied 3-3 after the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Tacoma on their heels and facing a lot of pressure. Solid counter-attacking gave them several one-on-one chances, but they failed to score. Soles controlled the ball for the final six minutes of play, but the Stars refused to break. Regulation ended tied at three goals apiece.
The overtime period started off disastrous, as Tacoma earn a blue card (a two minute penalty) just seventeen seconds into the frame. Soles applied pressure and controlled the ball, but Tacoma survived the penalty kill and returned to full strength.
The Stars finally got an opportunity to control the ball and it ended up with Raphael Cox, who broke free down the left wing. He fired a low, hard shot that hit the boards just wide of goal and skipped behind the Soles keeper. The ball fell to Cory Keitz, who found himself wide open to slot home the rebound, giving the Stars a much needed victory.
The Stars, with the win, advanced to 3-6 on the season, and head into the holiday break on a good note. Coach Sawatzky stated, “Our boys have a lot of pride, they turned that pride in to discipline and concentration”.
The Stars now look forward to the new year, which begins with a visit from the Ontario Fury, who are currently 4-4. That match is slated for January 5th with kickoff at 7:35 in the evening. Make sure to get to the arena early as it is free beanie night!
The Stars also announced this weekend, that they will be adding two players to the roster. One is local kid Eddie Na. He played recently for Pacific Lutheran University, and is a first time professional. It was also announced that the Stars had made a trade with the Syracuse Silverknights, for Forward Nick Perera. Perera, scored 17 goals and added 16 assists for the Ontario Fury last season. Perera also wears the captains armband for the US Beach Soccer National Team. The signings should bring about an offensive spark that the Stars seem to need.