Tacoma Earns 8-4 Victory Over Sonora On Opening Night

by Jeff Husted

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Stars ignited as the club posted an 8-4, opening night victory over the visiting Soles De Sonora on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center.

Stars forward Derek Johnson and midfielder Jamael Cox both contributed two goals in the winning effort, while forward Dan Antoniuk opened the year with a trio of assists to help power the offense. Tacoma goalkeeper Danny Waltman chipped in with seven saves on 11 shots.

Sonora struck first with a goal from midfielder Daniel Lopez just under three minutes into the match, spotting the visitors an early 1-0 lead. Johnson and the Stars responded with three minutes left in the opening quarter, sending in the tying goal with an assist from defender Chase Hanson. Sonora would not lead again for the remainder of the night.

Forward Joey Gjertsen connected on his first goal of the year midway through the second quarter, giving Tacoma a 2-1 lead that would hold until halftime.

Tacoma raced out to a 4-1 lead with two unanswered goal in the third quarter. Just over two minutes into the second half, Johnson sent home his second goal of the night. Midfielder Joseph Cairel drilled his first score of the year into the net a couple minutes later to extend the lead.

The two clubs combined for seven goals and nine penalties over the final quarter, creating the final margin of 8-4 in favor of the Stars. Cox came alive for two goals in the period, while midfielder Michael Ramos and forward Vince McCluskey registered scores of their own.

It was the first victory over Sonora for Tacoma, after dropping both matches during their inaugural season in the Major Arena Soccer League in 2015-16.

Next up for the Stars is their first road match of the season, a contest against the Turlock Express on Friday, Nov. 4 with a first kick set for 7:05 p.m. PT.