There are events in Cheney Stadium’s history that live on well past their happening. The 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game, the Tacoma Giants taking the field for the first time, AJ Zapp’s bomb over the centerfield wall, and so many more all stick in our memories. They are events stamped into your being. They are tales that you tell your children about, and their stories will be told long after we’re gone.
On May 18, 2019, Tacoma Defiance emphatically entered the almanacs and encyclopedias of South Sound and U.S. soccer history. In just 9.17 seconds, before many settled into their seats Defiance forward Justin Dhillon scored the fastest goal in USL league history. Dhillon’s goal is the third fastest in American pro soccer history and faster than any goal scored in a World Cup.
It happened right here – Tacoma, WA.
Reno 1868 FC had no idea what was happening. Neither did Tacoma coach Chris Little.
In the pre-kick huddle, midfielder Jesse Daley pointed out that Reno had already set a high line – oops.
Daley’s instructions were simple and direct – Dhillon should rush up the middle with wingers Azriel Gonzalez and Shandon Hopeau flashing wide. Justin would shuttle the pass to whoever was widest and they would almost immediately bang it back to the tall forward.
Not only did the young squad enter history, they changed the way that teams would play them the rest of the season. Dhillon’s friends on his first pro side were particularly impressed.
“Apparently the coach at LA Galaxy II showed that goal in pregame film, and they were freaking out.”
In 9.17 seconds the league took an entirely new look at Tacoma Defiance, forever changing how others would think of the Men in Black.
“It showed what this team was capable of.”
Nine point one seven seconds – forever.
About Tacoma Defiance
Tacoma Defiance is the USL Championship affiliate of reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC. You can follow The Future of Champions on Twitter (@TACDefiance), Facebook, and Instagram (@tacdefiance). We are #DefiantlyTacoma.
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More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.