TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Defiance remained alive in the race for the final playoff place in the USL Championship’s Pacific Division as Marlon Vargas recorded three assists and Samuel Adeniran scored twice in a 3-2 victory against the LA Galaxy II on Sunday afternoon at Cheney Stadium.
With the win, the Defiance moved within a point of the Galaxy II in fourth place in the Pacific Division with each team having one game to play in its regular season campaign.
The Defiance jumped out to an early lead in the 10th minute when Obed Vargas delivered a low cross in from the right that was cushioned by Marlon Vargas into the path of Ray Serrano as he arrived in the right side of the penalty area for a low shot to the left corner.
The visitors almost answered four minutes later as Daniel Aguirre played Danilo Acosta into the left side of the penalty area for a cutback cross that found Preston Judd, but Los Dos’ leading scorer put his first-time finish over the crossbar from 10 yards.
Serrano went close to a second 11 minutes before halftime as the conditions became difficult in heavy rain, driving forward from the center circle toward the top of the penalty area before firing a shot that hit the left post and caromed away to safety. The 19-year-old also threatened five minutes later when he got on the end of the flicked header by Samuel Adeniran off a long free kick upfield as the ball entered the penalty area, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Due to field conditions from the heavy rain, the second half was delayed by an hour before the teams return in brighter conditions and nine minutes in Adeniran notched a second for the hosts. Marlon Vargas picked up his second assist of the game as he flicked a pass centrally for the Texan forward, who hesitated for a moment as he drifted centrally to his right and then struck a low shot to the left corner that froze LA goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg and found the back of the net.
The Galaxy II hit back in the 63rd minute, however, as Judd broke onto a pass into the left channel behind the defense, and while Tacoma goalkeeper Christian Herrera got a piece of the ball as Judd tried to go around him the forward found space to squeeze home a finish from a narrow angle to the near post. But Adeniran responded with his second goal of the game seven minutes later as a goal kick upfield was flicked on by Marlon Vargas inside the Galaxy II half, allowing Adeniran to stride forward and collect possession before lifting his finish from the left side of the penalty area into the right side of the net past the advancing goalkeeper.
Judd continued the back-and-forth in the 73rd minute as he made it a one-goal game again with his 17th finish of the season when he latched onto a ball over the top by Markus Ferkranus into the left side of the penalty area and curled a finish to the far corner of the net. Four minutes later, Adeniran almost notched his hat trick, meanwhile, when he was played into the left side of the penalty area by Alvarez for a narrow-angle shot that Vom Steeg parried and gathered at the second attempt.
Serrano also went close to his second of the game with eight minutes to go with a near-post shot from the right side of the penalty area that was saved, but the hosts wouldn’t need another goal as they closed out the final minutes to claim all three points and keep the race for the final place in the postseason alive going to the final game of the season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Marlon Vargas, Tacoma Defiance – Vargas became the 22nd player to record a three-assist game in the Championship’s regular season and finished the game with eight key passes overall to key a crucial victory for the hosts.
TAC – Ray Serrano (Marlon Vargas) 10’
TAC – Samuel Adeniran (Marlon Vargas) 54’
LA – Preston Judd 63’
TAC – Samuel Adeniran (Marlon Vargas) 70’
LA – Preston Judd (Marcus Ferkranus) 73’