Ramos Lifts Stars To 5-4 Victory And Into MASL Playoffs

by Brett Gleason

TACOMA, Wash. -- For the second week in a row, midfielder Michael Ramos sealed victory for the Tacoma Stars (13-7). His last-minute goal on Friday night at the ShoWare Center lifted the Stars to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Ontario Fury (12-8), and vaulted Tacoma into the Major Arena Soccer League playoffs.

Tacoma raced out to an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from forwards Joey Gjertsen and Mark Lee, separated by only 10 seconds - both goals were unassisted.

The Fury managed a pair of goals in the second quarter while holding the Stars off the board to knot up the match at 2-2 heading into halftime. Juan Topete notched Ontario’s first goal of the night seven and a half minutes into the quarter, and Tiguinho Dias followed with an equalizer just over a minute later.

Topete and Mauricio Salles swatted in a pair of goals for the Fury in the third quarter, giving Ontario a 4-3 advantage heading into the final quarter with the playoffs on the line.

With just over three minutes remaining in the match, Tacoma forward Derek Johnson took a pass from forward Vince McCluskey and snuck in the equalizing goal. Two minutes later, after a handful of failed chances and with just 40 seconds remaining in the match, Ramos rocketed the game-winner behind Fury goalkeeper Sanaldo Freitas to push Tacoma to victory.

Gjertsen finished the match with a brace for Tacoma, while goalkeeper Danny Waltman contributed 10 saves on 14 shots.

Tacoma will face the San Diego Sockers (12-7) in the first round of the MASL playoffs next week. Dates for the contests will be announced following the conclusion of the Sockers match against the Dallas Sidekicks (7-11) this Sunday, Feb. 28.

Tickets for the Stars home playoff match are available to purchase now. To purchase, call 1-844-STARS-TIME or visit the Stars online at www.tacomastars.com. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Stars can be found by following the Stars on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC) or liking the team on Facebook.