by Pete Richmire

(Allen, TX) - The (1-1) Tacoma Stars make their second trip east this weekend as they head to the Lone Star State to battle the (0-4) Dallas Sidekicks. In doing so, they will be presenting a much different looking team than what fans may be used to seeing. COVID-19 protocols and strict adherence to policies in place to protect the health of players, arena staff, officials, fans, and others around our game, have caused several key players to miss this trip.

The first thing noticeable is the Tacoma Stars goal will not be protected by either future Hall of Fame goalkeeper Danny Waltman or Chris Toth. Toth was named last season’s MASL Goalkeeper of the Year. Mike Arguello who appeared in one game last season for the Stars is expected to start in goal for Tacoma.

Also out are five of the top six scorers through two games this season. 2018-19 MASL MVP and the Head Coach of the Stars Nick Perera is one of the players out for Saturday, but Co-Head Coach Adam Becker will be with the team. Pablo Da Silva (1G-2A), Cory Keitz (2G-0A), Vini Dantas (2G-0A), Jamael Cox (1G-1A), Adriano Dos Santos, Mike Palmerin, DeBray Hollimon, and Alessandro Canale will all be out for Tacoma as well.

Mike Ramos, who missed the teams last game due to COVID protocols, will be back with the team Saturday along with a host of players expected to make their season debut. A few of those players have some professional experience such as Steve Mohn and Mark Lee, both having played with the Stars in previous seasons. Jeff Bader also has MASL experience, but Micah Wenzel and Willie Spurr will be making their professional arena debuts.

Tacoma was short four players due to COVID protocols last two weeks ago and the Kansas City Comets played last week with eight men out, but Saturday’s game will be a season high with the 11 players down for the Stars.

Combining the shallow bench available for Becker and the caliber of players who are not available will make Saturday’s game even more challenging. While looking ahead is not always advised in sports, it may be prudent in this case for Tacoma as next week the team will play three games in four days at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida.

Game time tonight is 5:05 pm PST and you can catch the game for free as a MASL Featured Match presented by CaliFino Tequila at