Tacoma Defiance (1-0-0, 3 points) on Friday earned its first victory of the 2019 campaign in the opening match of the season, defeating Rio Grande Valley FC (0-1-0, 0 points) 1-0 in Tacoma. Forward Alec Diaz tallied the lone goal of the match, while goalkeeper Trey Muse made two saves to record the shutout in his first career professional contest. Tacoma Head Coach Chris Little earns a win in his USL Championship coaching debut, leading Sounders FC’s USL side to three points in front of 3,432 fans at Cheney Stadium.
In the 49th minute, Danny Leyva played a ball into the area and Marlon Vargas found Shandon Hopeau, whose header hit the goal post. Diaz pounced on the loose ball and put it past Rio Grande Valley goalkeeper Ben Willis. The 17-year-old Diaz has now recorded three goals and two assists in six career USL games. Leyva last season became the youngest player in club history to make his professional debut at 15 years old, playing a full 90 minutes on Friday night. Hopeau led the club with four shots and two shots on goal in Friday’s victory.
Nine players under the age of 20 saw action for Tacoma tonight, and five players made their first career USL Championship starts for Tacoma: Muse, Jonathan Campbell, Matt Nance, Modou Ndow and Danny Robles.
In a series of key announcements on January 30 at a press conference inside Cheney Stadium, the Tacoma Rainiers and Seattle Sounders FC unveiled the long-awaited new brand for the organizations’ United Soccer League club: Tacoma Defiance. Set to begin play under this new identity immediately, Tacoma’s professional soccer side now officially bears the name of its hometown, while proudly paying homage to the city’s maritime roots and deep sense of civic identity. The Tacoma Defiance is led by Head Coach Chris Little, who guided the Sounders FC Academy U-17 squad to the 2017-2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship and the 2018 U-17 Generation Adidas Cup title.
Tacoma Defiance returns to action on Saturday, March 16 vs. LA Galaxy II (7:00 p.m. PT / ESPN+) at Cheney Stadium. The club then travels to Tulsa on Saturday, March 23 to take on Roughnecks FC in its first road match of the season (1:00 p.m. PT / ESPN+).
Tacoma Defiance I 1-0 I Rio Grande Valley FC
Friday, March 8, 2019
Venue: Cheney Stadium I Tacoma, Washington
Referee: Alejandro Mariscal
Assistants: Baboucarr Jallow, Christian Clerc
Fourth Official: Liam Leonard
Weather: 37 degrees and clear
TAC – Alec Diaz 49′
TAC – Josh Atencio (caution) 68′
RGV – Robert Coronado (caution) 77′
TAC – Modou Ndow (caution) 84′
LINEUPS & STATS
TAC – Trey Muse; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jonathan Campbell, Modou Ndow, Matt Nance; Danny Leyva, Alex Roldan (Josh Atencio 67′); Shandon Hopeau, Danny Robles (Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez 89′), Marlon Vargas (Azriel Gonzalez 75′); Alec Diaz
Substitutes not used: Sam Fowler, Blake Malone, Enrique Montana, Jesse Daley
Total shots: 12
Shots on goal: 5
RGV – Ben Willis; Andrew Samuels, Robert Castellanos, Kyle Adams, Robert Coronado; Isidro Martinez, Brad Dunwell, Wilmer Cabrera (Andres Arcila 66′); Camilo Monroy (Kevin Rodriguez 74′), Carlos Small, Maalique Foster
Substitutes not used: Osmar Chavero, Zach Jackson, Carlos Viveros, David Cabrera, Brandon Morales
Total shots: 17
Shots on goal: 2