Stars Wrap Up Season With 4-3 Loss To Sockers

by Brett Gleason

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Stars (10-10) finished their season with a 4-3 loss to the San Diego Sockers (14-6) in front of a sellout crowd of 4,900 fans at the ShoWare Center on Saturday night.

The Stars got contributions on offense by five separate players, including goals by forward Vince McCluskey, midfielder Raphael Cox, and forward Dan Antoniuk. Goalkeeper Danny Waltman threw down eight saves on 12 shots over 57 minutes in net.

San Diego jumped out to an early lead with an unassisted goal from Brian Farber just 51 seconds into the match. Luan Oliveira followed with his first score of the night three minutes later, pushing the Sockers lead out to 2-0. Despite a number of good looks from both sides, the score would hold through the end of the opening quarter.

McCluskey got the Stars on the board with his third goal of the season under 30 seconds into the second frame, taking a pass from midfielder Jamael Cox directly in front of the Sockers goal and directing it past goalkeeper Chris Toth. Oliveira completed his brace in the back half of the second quarter, sending the Sockers into the break with a 3-1 lead.

The Stars rallied to tie the match at 3-3 with a pair of goals in the third quarter. Midfielder Raphael Cox, assisted by midfielder Joseph Cairel, kicked off the rally and pulled Tacoma within one just 48 seconds into the second half. An unassisted score off the foot of Antoniuk tied the match at 3-3 midway through the third.

However, the Sockers would respond with their final goal of the night early in the fourth quarter, sending the visitors back to San Diego with a 4-3 victory. What was originally ruled a fifth goal for San Diego as time expired was later wiped away, locking in the final score of 4-3.

Tacoma finished the 2016-17 season, the club’s second full campaign in the Major Arena Soccer League, with a record of 10-10, while going 8-2 at home in the ShoWare Center. The sellout crowd of 4,900 on hand in the season finale was a franchise record.

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