by Atif Bhatti
San Diego, CA—Hardly 24 hours after falling to the Legends in Las Vegas, the Stars picked themselves back up and traveled over 300 miles southwest to face the Sockers in the Valley View Casino Center. San Diego took the game by a score of 13-4 as over 7,000 fans watched old MISL rivals get back to business. Derek Johnson scored a brace for Tacoma. Four different San Diego players scored multiple goals to seal the victory for their side.
The Sockers announced in a special press conference on Thursday that Evan Mundine, a 17-year-old who the team signed to a one-game MASL contract, would start the match. Born with Crohn’s disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and afflicted with ulcerative colitis, Mundine had been held off the playing field due to medical issues lately, forestalling a top-flight youth soccer career. On Saturday night his dream of playing professional soccer came true. He scored after 8 seconds to give San Diego the lead. Jeff Bader returned the favor for the Stars and it was 1-1.
Just over a minute later, the Sockers regained the upper hand when Kraig Chiles found Luis Piffer for the homeside’s second goal of the night. San Diego’s leading goal scorer Nick Perera was issued a red card just six minutes into the game for headbutting, effectively ending his night. Although Tacoma did receive a power play opportunity late in the opening quarter, they were unable to cash in and the Stars finished the first quarter down by only one goal.
The Stars started the second quarter with a bang, as Chris Raymond blasted the shot into the net to pull the teams even again. But after the equalizer was scored, things started getting chippy, especially from Tacoma. Chris Raymond received two blue cards and Chris Kintz was also issued a blue card, putting the Stars at a man-down disadvantage for over a third of the quarter. And San Diego surely didn’t waste these power play chances. The Sockers converted two of the three power plays into goals, as Kraig Chiles and Eduardo Velez assisted each other’s goals to put San Diego up 4-2 at halftime.
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The deficit that the Stars were in only grew in the third quarter, as San Diego scored three goals within the first five minutes of the quarter. Kraig Chiles completed his brace while Anthony Medina and Ney Almeida tallied their first goals and their first assists of the night. But the Sockers weren’t done there. In the closing thirty seconds of the third quarter, San Diego added on two more goals courtesy of Ney Almeida and Brian Farber to put the homeside up by seven goals through the first three quarters.
And San Diego kept the goals coming in the closing quarter of the game. Following Derek Johnson’s goal in the early portion of the fourth quarter, the Sockers strung together three unanswered goals before Derek Johnson was able to complete his brace. Kraig Chiles, Luis Piffer, Anthony Medina, and Ney Almeida each added to their own individual scoring for the match to help San Diego win 13-4.
Tacoma’s next MASL match will be next Sunday, February 8th at 4:00 PT against the Turlock Express inside Kent’s ShoWare Center. This showdown against the Express will be the Stars’ last MASL home match of the season! And you can get your tickets at tickets.showarecenter.com
Following the Tacoma Stars: Fans can stay up to date on the latest activities and announcements for the Stars by following on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC), Facebook (www.facebook.com/tacomastars) or online at www.tacomastars.com.