A crowd of 8,492 fans packed Pachanga Arena in San Diego on Friday night, anticipating Landon Donovan’s first goal in a Sockers uniform.
Donovan, a former Major League Soccer and U.S. national team star who joined the Sockers this season, assisted on Brandon Escoto’s goal in the second quarter en route to San Diego’s 6-4 Major Arena Soccer League victory over the Kent-based Stars.
The Pacific Division-leading Sockers improved to 13-1. The Stars dropped to 6-7.
Brian Farber opened the scoring for the Sockers in the first quarter on one of Taylor Walter Bond’s two assists on the night with 7:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Philip Lund’s 12th goal of the season for the Stars – on an assist from Derek Johnson – evened the match for the final time with 3:40 left in the quarter.
The second quarter belonged to San Diego. Four unanswered goals from Cesar Cerda, Juan Gonzalez, Guerrero Pino and Escoto gave the Sockers a 5-1 lead at the break. Escoto’s goal came 13 seconds into a power play when the Stars leading scorer, Nick Perera, picked up a blue card after receiving his fourth foul of the half.
The Stars sped up the pace to open the second half, and Lund found Perera for his 16th goal of the season with 5:54 left in the third. Travis Pittman knocked in San Diego’s only goal of the half to give the Sockers a 6-2 lead with 2:22 on the clock. Alex Megson assisted on Perera’s second goal of the night, and the Stars trailed 6-3 with one quarter left to play.
The Stars’ Troy Peterson sailed home an unassisted goal, his second of the year, with 12:17 left in the fourth, but that would be all the scoring in the game. Tacoma pulled goalkeeper Sanaldo with just over three minutes left, but the Sockers were able to hold the lead for the win.
The Stars host the Sockers on Sunday at the accesso ShoWare Center. Kickoff is 5:05 p.m. For tickets, call 1-844-782-7784 or go to tacomastars.com.
Notes: Sunday is BECU. Military Night vs. the Sockers. The Stars will wear special kits that will be auctioned off during the match. … The Stars have two bobblehead nights on the calendar presented by Sound Credit Union – Friday, March 1 is Preki Bobblehead Night and Sunday, March 10 is Danny Waltman Bobblehead. Purchase a six-game pack or buy a group of 10 or more tickets and one or both collectibles can be yours.
1st quarter – SD Farber (Bond) 7:42; TAC Lund (Johnson) 11:20; Penalties – none.
2nd quarter – SD Cerda (Pino) 3:39; SD Gonzalez (Bond) 6:35; SD Pino (Pardo) 9:36; SD Escoto (Donovan) 12:36 PP; Penalties – TAC Perera blue card (4 fouls in a half) 12:23.
3rd quarter – TAC Perera (Lund) 9:06; SD Pittman (Contreras) 12:38; TAC Perera (Megson) 13:06; Penalties – none.
4th quarter – TAC Peterson (unassisted) 2:43; Penalties – TAC Da Silva blue card (tripping) 6:38; SD Pardo yellow card (dissent) served by Farber 6:38
Attendance – 8,492