Stars Winners Of Five Straight After Defeating Express

by Brett Gleason

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Stars (9-3) collected their fifth straight win by taking down the Turlock Express (5-9) by a final score of 7-3 on Friday night at the ShoWare Center.

A total of 4,064 fans witnessed the victory, setting a new single-game attendance record for the Stars since joining the Major Arena Soccer League last season.

Midfielder Raphael Cox and forward Derek Johnson both recorded braces for Tacoma to lead the offense, while forwards Dan Antoniuk and Alex Megson both contributed two points of their own. Goalkeeper Danny Waltman allowed just three goals and tallied nine saves to earn the win.

Following a silent first quarter that featured just three combined shots on goal, the Stars offense came alive. A give-and-go in front of the Turlock net culminated in a goal for Cox, giving Tacoma a 1-0 lead. Antoniuk headed in the Stars second goal nine minutes later, and an Express error gave Johnson his first score of the night soon after to put Tacoma on top 3-0. Turlock responded a mere 13 seconds later with a goal from Jorge Carmona, sending the Stars into the break with a 3-1 edge.

The two clubs threw together a slew of goals again in the third quarter, with Tacoma ultimately out-scoring Turlock 3-1 in the frame. A rocket goal from Cox off the left-side boards sealed his brace just over a minute into the quarter, and he was followed by a power play goal from Micheal Ramos. The Express answered 39 seconds later with a goal of their own, cutting the Stars lead to 5-2. Tacoma scored once more in the period on a goal from defender Cory Keitz, his first of the season.

The Stars and Express exchanged goals in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, creating the final margin of 7-3. The win extended Tacoma’s lead over the San Diego Sockers in the Pacific Division to 1.0 games. Additionally, the Stars remain undefeated at home this season at 7-0, while out-scoring opponents 49-33.