For the Reporter
The Tacoma Stars returned from the holiday break firing on all cylinders to defeat the visiting Ontario (Calif.) Fury 11-6 at the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday night.
The win pulls the Stars (4-6) within one game of Ontario (5-5) for second place in the Major Arena Soccer League’s Pacific Division race. San Diego (9-0) continues to set the pace.
Ontario opened scoring in the first quarter when Maicon De Abreau beat Stars keeper Danny Waltman. The Stars answered less than two minutes later when Nick Perera picked up his first goal as a Star to even the game at 1-1. The Fury would close the quarter on the power play when Philip Lund was issued a blue card with 26 seconds left to play.
The Fury went back in front 2-1 on a power play goal from Thiago Goncalves with 11 seconds left on Lund’s penalty. Ontario scored on it fifth shot of a possession off the leg of Israel Sesay with 11:24 left in the first half to make it a two-goal lead. Tacoma took control from there.
Fifteen seconds after Sesay’s goal, Chase Hanson buried a pass from Troy Peterson to bring the Stars within one. Ontario’s De Abreau was booked with a yellow and blue card after delivering an elbow to Lund. The Stars capitalized with a power play goal from Raphael Cox with 7:12 left in the half.
The Stars took a 4-3 halftime lead on Jamael Cox’s goal with just over four minutes to play. Perera picked up a blue card for Tacoma with 2:26 left, but Stars penalty killers held Ontario off the board.
Tacoma eruped for five goals in the third quarter. Jamael Cox notched his second of the night for a 5-3 lead. That was followed by Raphael Cox’s second to put the Stars up by three. The Fury was issued a blue card with 8:58 left, and Ontario scored an own-goal, which was credited to Perera.
Tacoma scored two goals just 32 seconds apart when Peterson banged one home with 3:02 on the clock followed by Joey Gjertsen’s marker.
Ontario made things interesting in the final quarter scoring three unanswered goals – first from Leonardo De Oliveira and then Juan Gonzalez to make it a 9-5 Tacoma lead. A Tacoma blue card to Raphael Cox led to De Oliveira’s power play goal with 5:51 left in the game.
It took the Stars just 11 seconds to answer on Alain Matingou’s goal. The final goal of the night came off the foot of Lund, who knocked it in from three-quarters of the field away to make the score 11-6 with 3:53 remaining.
The teams will complete a home-and-home series on Thursday, Jan. 11 in Ontario, Calif. The Stars head farther south to face the San Diego Sockers on Friday. Jan. 12 before returning home to host the Turlock Express on Jan. 14 at 5:05 p m.