TACOMA, WA. – The Stars (4-3-0) return home this weekend for a pair of games with the newly rebranded Empire Strykers (6-4-1), formerly known as the Ontario Fury. This will be a big series for the Stars as they look to keep pace in an extremely competitive Western Conference.
Tacoma won the only meeting between these two teams earlier this season, a 7-5 win in Ontario to open the season for the Stars and they will battle the Strykers two more times after Friday’s game.
The Stars are looking to snap a two-game skid following their trip to Mexico last weekend against a Strykers team that has won their last four games after getting off to a slow start to the 2022-23 season.
One of the keys to Empire’s success is the play of Gabriel Costa who is making a case for the MASL Newcomer of the Year Award with 20 points through nine games, leading the team in scoring. Franck Tayou tops the squad in goals with 12 and Mohamed Ndiaye’s nine assists lead the team in that category.
Defensively, the Strykers are anchored by Chris Toth and his 6-2-1 record to go with a 4.69 GAA and .749 save percentage. A striking fact about the Strykers’ defense though, is the number of shots that never make it to the keeper. Empire has three players near the top of the league in blocks in Robert Palmer (19), Israel Sesay (17), and Uzi Tayou (17).
The Stars, who trail the Strykers by six points with four games in hand can seriously shake up the Western Conference standings with a pair of wins this weekend and enter the first game led in scoring by Nick Perera (8G-8A) and his 16 points. Mike Ramos (6G-4A) with 10 points and Philip Lund (4G-4A) with eight points round out the Stars’ leading scorers.
Danny Waltman, the MASL all-time leader in games played by a goalkeeper and saves has been in goal for all but 17 minutes this season for Tacoma. He is currently 4-3-0 with a 5.62 GAA and a .709 save percentage.
Friday night is the first College Night of the season with the Stars and Sunday brings the first Jersey Auction of the year. Tacoma will be wearing jerseys specially designed by Valor Soccer and fans can bid to win their favorite player’s game-worn jersey through Live Source.
Tickets for both games are available at www.tacomastars.com/tickets
The Stars return to the accesso ShoWare Center for two games against the Empire Strykers on January 27 and 29. Tickets to both games are available at…