The Tacoma Stars started the Greg Howes era with a 7-3 win over the Snohomish Skyhawks at the Soccer Center in Tacoma Saturday night.
Hector Rodriguez scored the first goal of the season for the Skyhawks less than one minute into the match to give the visitors an early lead, before Lee Williams would get the Stars first goal of the season on the first of three penalty kicks awarded on the night to bring the Stars level with 8:55 left in the first. Williams converted the first effort, but an encroachment penalty against the Stars forced him to retake the kick and bury it again in the back of the net with 8:07 left in the first period.
Jeremy Bonner set up Julio Reyes for his first goal of the year with 1:10 left in the first to give the visiting Skyhawks the lead going into the first break. Tacoma weathered an early second period storm from the Skyhawks before Jeff Hallenbeck was called for pushing in the box with 10:37 left in the half to put Williams on the penalty spot for the second time. This time around he converted on the first effort with no need for a retake and drew the Stars level. Halenbeck converted from the penalty spot later in the period and put Snohomish ahead thanks to a foul by Tacoma’s goal keeper Chris Kintz.
Tacoma drew level with a power play goal from Joey Gjertson, set up by Danny Minniti who had an outstanding match for the Stars.
The Stars outscored Snohomish 4-0 in the second half of the match. Lee Williams completed the hat trick with his first goal from the run of play on the season with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter. Luka Rydberg doubled the lead just before the end of the third on a goal assisted by Mike Francis.
Francis finished the scoring for the Stars with 5:44 left in match on Tacoma’s second power play goal of the match.
Despite the win, Stars coach Greg Howes saw a lot of improvement that needed to be made by his squad if they are to be serious contenders for the PASL Premier National Title.
Next up for Tacoma is another home match against the Central Oregon Steelheaders on December 13 at 7pm. Tickets are $5 for adults and the match will be held at the Soccer Center in Tacoma.