Frank Daroma’s Tacoma Defiance suffered Western Conference semifinal 1-0 defeat to Austin FC II on Sunday night at Starfire Stadium.
The Sierra Leone-born, who has been a pivotal player for Tacoma Defiance, played the full throttle of the match.
Valentin Noël’s game-winning goal was the decider in an intense affair at Starfire Stadium. Austin FC II advanced to meet Rapids 2 in the Western Conference Final.
Noël found the end of a David Rodriguez cross in the 82nd minute, directing his shot powerfully into the back of the net. Austin FC II took control after a Defiance red card in the 69th minute. Austin FC II goalkeeper Damian Las made three saves to preserve a clean sheet.
The result concludes the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign for Defiance, who won the Pacific Division and finished second in the Western Conference during the regular season.
Signed on January 27, 2023, Daroma, 22, started 57 of 64 appearances for Las Vegas Lights FC over the 2021-2022 USL Championship campaigns before joining Tacoma Defiance.
“It’s been quite a journey,” said Defiance Assistant Coach Michael Morris In a pre-match interview.
“We haven’t been beaten in the last seven games,” said Morris. “We’ve been really consistent with the chances we’re trying to create and finishing in those specific moments.”
Last season, they were beaten in the same stage of the MLS NEXTPro conference semifinals of launched. The team closed out last season in a 2-1 Western Conference Final loss against St. Louis CITY 2, preventing them from advancing to the Final.