Tacoma Stars Reserves 8, Bellingham United 5

AJ Nitzel scored three goals and Nate Ford added a brace to lead the Tacoma Stars Reserves to a 8-5 win over Bellingham United to capture the 2021-2022 Western Indoor Soccer League championship. It is the third championship for the Tacoma Stars franchise with two championships as the Stars Reserves and one as the Stars in 2014-2015.

After a defensive scoreless first half, Tacoma took a 1-0 lead midway through the second when AJ Nitzel scored his first goal of the game at the 8:20 mark. But a four goal barrage near the end of the half with the equalizer by Bellingham’s Kevin Flavin, Nitzel’s second goal for Tacoma, and the go ahead goal by Richard Henderson, gave the Hammers a 3-2 lead at the half.

But the third period was all Stars. They equalized early in the second half on a strike by Brayton Knapp and then took the lead a minute later thanks to a goal by Ismael DeLuna. Nitzel then added a goal with 4:25 left in the third to make it 5-3.

Nate Ford made it 6-3 less than a minute into the fourth quarter but Bellingham battled back to make it a one goal game with 11 minutes left behind Henderson’s second goal and Uriel Herrera’s second. But minutes later, Isidro Prado-Huerta scored on a penalty kick to make it 7-5 and Ford scored his second with less than two minutes to play and the Stars defense in front of goalkeeper Alek Greenleaf held on to take the 8-5 championship win.

Tacoma Stars Reserves goals: AJ Nitzel (3), Nate Ford (2), Brayton Knapp, Isidro Prado-Huerta, Ismael DeLuna

Bellingham United goals: Richard Henderson (2), Uriel Herrera (2), Kevin Flavin

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