The Tacoma Stars began a stretch of their final three regular-season road games Saturday night in the Lone Star State with a 7-4 win over the Dallas Sidekicks at the Allen Event Center.
The win pushed the Kent-based Stars (11-11) back into second place in the Major Arena Soccer League’s Pacific Division, a half-game ahead of the Ontario Fury.
Dallas dropped to 9-14.
The game was a defensive battle with great goalkeeping, and the first quarter was evidence of that as the lone goal came off the foot of Tacoma’s Dan Antoniuk on an assist from Jonathan Greenfield with 6:16 left in the quarter.
It took the Sidekicks just 37 seconds into the second quarter to even the match on the first of three goals from Cameron Brown on the night, this one assisted by Jamie Lovegrove.
The Stars were quick to go back in front and create some distance, knocking in three unanswered goals in the second to take a 4-1 lead into the locker room. League-leading scorer Nick Perera assisted on two of the goals – Cory Keitz’s marker with 12:56 left in the half and Mike Ramos’ goal at the 10:19 mark. The third goal was courtesy of Troy Peterson with an assist to Ramos.
After an extended halftime, including the Sidekicks retiring the number of Nick Stavrou, which was attended by many Dallas alumni, the third quarter played out much like the first. Only one goal was scored, but this time it was Dallas that found the net on Brown’s second goal of the game.
The fourth quarter was also wide open with five goals scored between the teams. The first came when Tacoma’s Joseph Cairel found a loose ball in front of the Dallas goal and tapped it in for a 5-2 lead with 13:11 left to play. Perera converted on a Philip Lund assist with 8:04 on the clock to give Tacoma a 6-2 lead. Nestor Hernandez was credited with a goal when Tacoma scored an own goal with 4:14 remaining to cut the Stars’ lead to 6-3.
The Stars’ final goal of the night was the first of the year for keeper Danny Waltman. He had a stellar night in goal but worked his way on to the scorer’s column when he put a toss into the Dallas goal against six Sidekicks attackers. The final goal of the night was Brown’s third for Dallas with just 1:28 left to play.
Tacoma, which took the season series 2-1, heads to Monterrey, Mexico, to face the Southwest Division champion Flash on Sunday in another game with playoff implications for the Stars. Kickoff is 3:05 p.m. (MASL TV).
For more on the team, visit tacomastars.com.
First quarter – TAC Antoniuk (Greenfield) 8:44. Penalties – DAL Lovegrove yellow card (dissent) 8:42.
Second quarter – DAL Brown (Lovegrove) 0:37; TAC Keitz (Perera) 0:53; TAC Peterson (Ramos) 2:04; TAC Ramos (Perera) 5:31. Penalties – DAL Jones yellow card (dissent) 8:45.
Third quarter – DAL Brown 7:03. Penalties – none.
Fourth quarter – TAC Cairel 1:49; TAC Perera (Lund) 6:56; DAL Hernandez 10:46; TAC Waltman 12:59; DAL Brown (Eligwe) 13:32. Penalties – none.
Shots – Tacoma 3-5-6-4 (18), Dallas 3-7-6-9 (25)
Attendance – 2,198