Misc Soccer News

Fabián Wins Golden Boot in Empire’s Overtime Loss to Stars

Empire Strykers Set Franchise Records in Win over Flash

April 1, 2024 – Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)
Empire Strykers News Release

Ontario, Calif. – The Empire Strykers played one of the best games of their 2023-24 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season on Sunday evening, outshooting the visiting Tacoma Stars 42-33, only to fall 5-6 in overtime. The Stars earned their ninth straight victory in large part due to the heroics of backup goalkeeper Luis Birrueta, who subbed in for ex-Empire standout Chris Toth at halftime and boasted an impressive .917 save percentage on 11 total saves. With the defeat, the Strykers’ young squad ends the season at 3-20-1 (wins-losses-overtime/shootout losses).

Empire star Marco Fabián bagged yet another hat-trick on the day, finishing his first indoor campaign on 35 netters and tied with Kansas City forward Zach Reget for the MASL Golden Boot. Fabián’s teammate Momo Gueye had a strong showing on defense, leading a gritty display by his side and contributing two attacking points in the process.

In a fiercely contested first quarter, the hosts had the best chance of the opening stages, Fabián releasing a wicked low drive from rage and ‘keeper Toth diving to his right to tip the ball just wide of the frame. It was a sign of things to come, as Fabián put the Strykers on top deeper into the period. The Mexican collected the ball from Mo Alewine and streaked down the center on a breakaway, his calm finish inside the right post leaving Toth without a chance.

The two-time FIFA World Cup veteran made it a brace with a brilliant tally in the second quarter. Positioned on the right and receiving the ball from Quenton Swift with his back to the goal, Fabián faked out his marker with some deceptive body movement, cutting inside and firing a low shot inside the near post with his weaker left foot. Gerardo Jurado then missed a golden chance for his team’s third on a defensive miscue by the Stars, staring at a wide-open net but missing wide right.

Empire kept knocking on the door, Fabián dribbling around netminder Toth on the right and sending an excellent effort on frame from a tight angle that was scraped off the line by Matt Braem. The visitors then had a dangerous warning shot at the other end, as Alessandro Canale rattled the far post with a hard drive from the right. Instead of a Stars tally, the Strykers made it 3-0 moments later. Gueye picked out Jurado on a power play, the midfielder tapping home from the doorstep.

Tacoma subsequently pulled one back, Cory Keitz rifling a bullet off…

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