Ten games into the Major Arena Soccer League season and the Tacoma Stars find themselves in unfamiliar territory. At 4-6, the Stars currently sit in the middle, fourth to be exact, in the league’s eight-team Western Conference. Granted, the record may be deceiving following a six-game road stretch which saw the team play tough, but come home with a 1-5 record over those matches. They did beat Turklock 7-4 in their first game back at Showare on Friday.
Stars co-head coach, leading scorer, and reigning MASL MVP Nick Perera recognizes the difficulty in that length of a road swing and the opportunity to gain ground in the standing as the team returns home to play seven of their next nine games at the accesso ShoWare Center. When asked about the team’s start he said “Obviously, records speak for themselves, and we aren’t in the position we want to be in, or envisioned, but with six away trips in a row and back-to-back matches with difficult travel in between, some of the results were foreseeable. We know we have an important home stand now, and it’s in our hands to ensure we make good use of that.”
Fans who follow the team may have noticed a different look to team’s line-up. A trio of players who have most recently played with the Stars Reserves have stepped in and logged playing time in place of a few Tacoma veterans. Ismael Deluna, Adrian Correa, and Logan Jones have all made their MASL debuts this season and received extensive playing time. That wasn’t Perera’s, co-head coach Adam Becker’s, and Stars’ staff’s plan.
“One of the things our coaching staff discussed before the season was ensuring we didn’t throw these 3 rookies into the deep end too early on, but circumstances dictated a different route. Adrian, Logan and Ismael are excellent players, with long and exciting careers ahead of them in our league, but we have to remember this is their first year in the MASL. The sport of indoor is an experience sport, and one that the more matches you log, the more tools you put in your toolbox. They have done remarkably well with the adaptation period that was forced upon them, and I look forward to watching them develop and contribute to the success of this organization for years to come” Perera said.
Along with the Stars rookies, the team is loaded with MASL veterans and outdoor elite players including Perera, Mike Ramos, and former Sounders FC standout Lamar Neagle. Perera currently leads the MASL in scoring with 23 points (12G-11A) with Ramos second on the team with 15 points (12G-3A). While Perera and Ramos lead the team in goals scored, a MASL Goal of the Year candidate and ESPN Sports Center Top 10 play came from the duo of Alex Caceres and Alex Megson.
While in Mesquite, Texas to battle the Outlaws, Caceres sent a pass cross-pitch to Megson who did the rest for his first goal of the season. Perera was trailing Megson on the play and had a front-row seat for the score. His reaction told the story.
When asked about the play, Perera said “It was an incredible goal, with a memorable piece of skill. My reaction said exactly my thoughts: What did I just see? It was an amazing goal, and I couldn’t believe it based on the difficulty of the move. Caceres picked his head up, saw Megson with an angle on the back post and played him a lofted ball. What happened next was magic: Megson connected first time with and sent it side-netting far post for the indisputable goal of the season thus far. I was really happy for Alex to get his first goal of the season, and after that moment we saw a more confident Megson.”