After adding three more losses to their 2019-2020 record, the Sidekicks rang in their 2020 homestand on Sunday with a win against the Tacoma Stars.
Entering Sunday afternoon’s game, Dallas and Tacoma both resided in the basement of the Western Conference, with Dallas on a 1-7 record and Tacoma 3-5. Dallas got its first, and previously only, win of the season at home against a fellow struggling team, the Kansas City Comets, back on December 22.
Fresh off two thorough thumpings by Mesquite, the Sidekicks came out swinging for that elusive second win.
Dallas dominated the first frame, with Arthur Ivo putting the Sidekicks ahead in just the 2nd minute with his fourth goal of the season.
Felipe de Souza doubled the lead a minute later off a pass from his fellow Felipe, Lipe de Andrade, as the Kicks continued to dominate.
Tacoma hacked back, racking up another four fouls in the first, before a quick restart found Ivo through on Stars keeper Danny Waltman who, bafflingly, dove to grab a ball outside his box and missed. Ivo buried the empty netter to take a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.
Tacoma rebounded in the second quarter, pressuring Kicks keeper Juan Gamboa and testing the veteran keeper’s reactions. Micheal Ramos ignited the Stars, scoring twice in the process.
Tacoma’s defense stifled Dallas in the quarter, with the Kicks failing to register a shot, and as tempers grew, Lipe found himself in the penalty box for dissent. Dallas saw its lead reduced to a single goal ahead of the break, with Tacoma very much willing and able to fight back.
The Stars came out swinging early in the second half, forcing three saves from Gamboa in the first three minutes, and playing as rough as it took in search of an equalizer.
Gamboa, however, kept the Stars off the board, as the Sidekicks offense managed to pierce Tacoma’s defenders. Kristian Quintana was the man of the quarter, scoring the only goal for either side, extending the Dallas lead to 4-2, and blocking several dangerous Stars shots.
In the final frame, both sides dialed up the intensity, with Dallas hounding Stars netminder Danny Waltman early and often, as Freddy Moojen added a fifth goal in the 4th minute.
Tacoma rallied, forcing yet more heroics from Gamboa, with Dallas’ Raul de la Gala getting two minutes for a reckless challenge. On the ensuing power play, Nick Perera and Alex Megson threaded through the Dallas penalty kill to add a third for Tacoma. The Stars carried the momentum, with Chase Henson bringing Tacoma back within one just three minutes later.
Searching for an equalizer, Tacoma pulled Waltman with more than three minutes remaining, coming close and hammering Gamboa but failing to find a goal. In the waning seconds, Ivo chased a deflected shot down the floor to an open goal, scoring his third and securing a 6-4 win for Dallas.
With the win, Dallas improves to 2-7, still bottom of the Western Conference, yet firmly in the playoff hunt.
The Sidekicks return to action this Thursday, January 9, hosting the Monterrey Flash, before a break of more than two weeks. A win against Monterrey and some productive training sessions over the coming weeks could prove the difference between making the playoffs or not.