Tacoma Stars fall twice in Mexico

TIJUANA, Mexico. — The Tacoma Stars (9-5) dropped their second straight road match, a 6-4 decision against Atletico Baja (8-7), on Sunday night at Unidad Deportiva.

The Stars offense was led by forward Joey Gjertsen, who logged two points on one goal and one assist. Defender Cory Keitz threw down a team-best nine blocks, while goalkeeper Danny Waltman notched a season-high 27 saves on 33 shots.

It wasn’t until late in the first quarter that Baja broke the scoring drought and took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Uziel Roman Gonzalez. However, forward Alex Megson would respond just 12 seconds later on a goal off a set piece, tying the match, 1-1, at the end of the first quarter.

Midfielder Micheal Ramos and Christian Gutierrez exchanged goals in the first minute and a half of the second period, bringing the score to 2-2. Tacoma would go on a run with a goal from midfielder Joseph Cairel and a power play score off the foot of Gjertsen to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.

Baja went on to score four unanswered goals in the second half – one in the third quarter, and three in the fourth – to secure a 6-4 victory. A pair of goals only separated by 10 seconds pulled Baja out in front 5-4 and extended their lead to the final margin of 6-4.

The Stars remain on the road for another weekend doubleheader as they take on the San Diego Sockers on Friday, Feb. 3 and the Dallas Sidekicks on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Single game tickets, season ticket packages, group outings, family packs, and suite offerings for the Tacoma Stars 2016-17 season are available now. To purchase, call 1-844-STARS-TIME or visit the Stars online at http://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.

Sonora-14 Tacoma-9

SONORA, Mexico. — The Tacoma Stars (9-4) saw their five-game winning streak snapped by a 14-9 loss to Soles De Sonora (11-2) on Saturday night at Centro de Usos Multiples.

Midfielder Derek Johnson paced the Stars offense with a hat trick, the first of the year recorded by any Tacoma player. Forward Joey Gjertsen and midfielder Micheal Ramos both tallied two points, while goalkeeper Danny Waltman notched 12 saves.

A frantic first half of play saw five lead changes, four ties, and a total of 12 goals scored between the two clubs. Raymundo Contreras opened up the scoring for Sonora and Gjertsen answered a minute and a half later for Tacoma to even the score at 1-1. A pair of goals from Mauricio Sales and Hiram Ruiz pushed Sonora’s lead out to 3-1 before a flurry of goals from Tacoma. Johnson scored twice, around a goal from Ramos, to give Tacoma a 4-3 lead after one full quarter of play.

Sonora would go on to out-score the Stars 4-1 in the second quarter, sending the match to halftime with Tacoma trailing on the road, 7-5. The Stars only goal in the second quarter came off the foot of Cory Keitz, marking his second goal of the season.

Defender Evan McNeley scored for Tacoma just 48 seconds into the second half to cut Sonora’s lead to just one goal; however, Sonora would score three more times before the close of the period to enter the fourth quarter with a lead of 10-6.

A slew of seven total goals – four from Sonora and three from Tacoma – in the last 15 minutes created the final score of 14-9 in favor of Sonora. Defender Trevor Jensen and midfielder Nick Cashmere both scored in the fourth for Tacoma, their first goals of the season.

With the loss, the Stars fall into a tie for first place in the Major Arena Soccer League Pacific Division with the San Diego Sockers, who have the weekend off.

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