An unbeaten streak of three matches. A forward on a scoring streak of four games. Goal of the week twice in a row.
The Tacoma Defiance action at Cheney Stadium is trending up. Saturday night (7:00 p.m., ESPN+) Defiance (2-9-3, -26) host the West’s 8th best side, El Paso Locomotive (4-2-5, +3). With a positive weather forecast and improving home form it’s the perfect time to party on the deck.
Captain Sam Rogers is happy to return home with a points streak, but wants more than just a draw this time around.
“With three ties in a row we can look at a couple games and think that we should have won them. Coming home with that streak going we are all really confident. We think we can get a win this weekend.”
Rogers is more than the captain. He is an anchor in defense. Seeing the attack clicking, he wants to tidy things up in the back.
“Everyone is more confident. Now that we’re starting to get a good string of goals in. Justin is having a goal frenzy right now, so it helps the whole team with confidence. Our defense can have more confidence knowing that we can get goals. If we clean things up, we are going to be in really good position. With us scoring and not making mistakes, we can get wins.”
Two Passing Teams Meet
Locomotive are one of the few sides as dedicated to their passing system as Defiance. Tacoma and El Paso are one and two in pass attempts in the West. El Paso completes 84% of their attempts. That creates a new set of challenges for Defiance. Usually Coach Mark Lowry’s squad manages the tempo through fullbacks and the holding midfielders. With left back James Kiffe out they will make adjustments.
Against Fresno FC left back Nick Hinds surged forward frequently. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he will do the same if he plays Saturday.
“We reach challenges in every game. That game presented the opportunity for me to go forward more often so I took it upon myself to assert my skill and assert my speed to help the team.”
Like his coach, Hinds wants to focus on himself and teammates rather than the opposition.
“We need to stay focused on our goal, and what we want to accomplish, so our play will take over.”
El Paso Locomotive notes
- El Paso is 1-0-3 +2 away from Southwest University Park. They are unbeaten in their last six.
- Jerome Kiesewetter has 6 goals in 7 appearances. The two-time US National Team player is reviving a career after several years in Germany’s lower divisions.
- #10 Sebastián Contreras leads El Paso with 4 assists and 21 chances created.
Tacoma Defiance notes
- Shandon Hopeau won Fans’ Choice Goal of the Week. It is the second straight week that a Tacoma Defiance player took the award.
- Justin Dhillon scored in Wednesday night’s draw. He now has a four-match scoring streak on the season.
- Defiance are 2-3-2 -5 at Cheney Stadium this year. Tacoma scored in six of their last seven home matches.
- Alec Diaz, Ray Serrano, and Marlon Vargas are with the Sounders Academy at an international tournament in Switzerland.
- Defiance signed Mexican defender Everado Rubio.
MultiCare Pre-Match Health Report
Tacoma – There are no injuries to report.
Locomotive – James Kiffe is out due to yellow card accumulation. Kiffe is third on the team in minutes played.
How to Watch
Stadium: Cheney Stadium, Tacoma Washington
Kickoff Time: Saturday, June 1 (7:00 p.m.)
Home: Tacoma Defiance (2-9-3, -26)
Away: El Paso Locomotive (4-2-5, +3)
Tacoma Rainiers, Reign FC, Tacoma Defiance, and Seattle Sounders FC season ticket holders received emails regarding their ability to purchase tickets to the U.S. Open Cup match Thursday.
Attendees of this weekend’s Tacoma Defiance and Reign FC matches will be able to purchase U.S. Open Cup tickets at the Cheney Stadium box office.
The next Tacoma Defiance home match is versus El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday, June 1 (tickets available).