The Tacoma Stars and Wenatchee Fire won their Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) openers as the new league kicked off on November 15. In Tacoma the Stars edged Bellingham United 4-3 while in Arlington the Wenatchee Fire took the Arlington Aviators, 4-2. See reports from the home clubs below.
TACOMA, WA— The Tacoma Stars edged Bellingham United FC 4-3 in both sides’ Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) debut on Saturday night at the Tacoma Soccer Center. The Stars scored twice in the fourth quarter to earn the victory before 425 noisy, chanting, celebrating fans. The match was preceded by Stars legend Joe Waters lending a leg to the “first kick” as the Center roared with approval.
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The first league goal in what are being called “Stars 3.0″ came off the foot of Chris Raymond, who tucked home a loose save early in the second quarter to put the Stars up 1-0. It was a match with plenty of action but goals were hard to come by. The Hammers got even before halftime on a goal from Oscar Jimenez.
The Stars’ Cam Vickers didn’t take much time to make it 2-2 as he answered the Curtis goal a minute and a half later. It was also Vickers who provided one of the post-match talking points. A sixth team foul was called on Bellingham in a tough tackle from the Hammers’ Daniel Anderson. Vickers sprung up quickly but then grabbed the fouler in a headlock as both tumbled to the ground. Play stopped, the players were separated and after a long delay both Vickers and Anderson were red-carded and ejected from the match. The 6th foul for the Hammers and the resulting melee meant Tacoma spent some time with a rare four-on-three power play.
Tensions were high as the match entered the final quarter tied up 2-2. Bellingham’s traveling Bellinghammers SCsupporters were drumming and chanting and the Tacoma Stars Satellites were singing of Tacoma with help from 253 Defiance. The Center erupted when Raphael Cox scored 2 minutes in to put the Stars up 3-2.
Nate Ford found himself on a breakaway along the left boards a couple of minutes later and he played it cool before slotting the ball under Bellingham goalkeeper Keegan Rogers and into the opposite corner to put Tacoma up 4-2. The supporters side of the pitch went crazy, chanting Ford’s name as Stars fans celebrated some breathing room.
Bellingham was not done, though. A series of power plays finally netted the third Hammers goal by Chris Jepson. It appeared a Tacoma defender tried to clear the ball in front of Stars goalkeeper Aaron Anderson. The failed clearance hit Jepson and ricocheted into the Tacoma goal.
It was a tense and nervous Tacoma bench that watched the Stars cling to victory. Right until the very end the Hammers pressured, but the horn sounded with the Stars ahead, 4-3.
Tacoma is now 1-0-0 on the young WISL season while Bellingham United is 0-0-1. The Stars travel to Olympia on November 22 to provide the foe for the debut of Oly Town Artesians. Bellingham travels over the mountains on the 22nd to face the Wenatchee Fire.
Tacoma goals: Chris Raymond, Cam Vickers, Raphael Cox, Nate Ford
Bellingham goals: Oscar Jimenez, Austin Curtis, Chris Jepson
by Merrick Parnell
The Arlington Aviators dropped their Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) opener, 4-2 against the Wenatchee Fire at home in a fierce defensive battle.
The Aviators jumped out to a quick lead as Aaron Burns netted the first goal of the Aviators WISL season, on a crisp pass from Winfred Smith. Wenatchee would answer just a few minuets later on a Yonathan Rodriguez goal.
In the second period, both teams would score on unassisted goals from Arlington’s Lupe Rodriguez and Wenatchee’s Juan Barboza. As the game progressed into the third period, both teams battled hard; with both keepers making dramatic saves to keep the period scoreless.
“I felt focused and like I was in the zone, and my team did a good job in blocking shots,” Said Arlington Goalie, Erik Cruz.
Midway into the final period, Wenatchee assembled a relentless offensive attack that scored two unanswered goals to take the game out of reach for Arlington, and seal a Fire win.
This was just the second time in two seasons that Arlington had lost at home at Soccer First Arena, a place that has proven difficult for visiting teams to be successful.
“I want to thank all the fans that showed up last night and we are glad to give them an entertaining game,” said Arlington head coach Dagi Kesim. “We had a good first half but didn’t stick to the game plan second half. We will work hard and spread that good soccer through the full game and make you all proud. ”
Arlington (ARL)- Goal: #26 Aaron Burns (Ast: #12 Winfred Smith)
Wenatchee (WEN)- Goal: #16 Yonathan Rodriguez (Ast: #3 Johnathan Rodriguez)
ARL- Goal: #10 Lupe Rodriguez (Unassisted)
WEN- Goal: #9 Juan Barboza (Unassisted)
WEN- Goal #8 Jamie Richards (Unassisted)
WEN – Goal #10 Adrian Espinoza (Unassisted)