The Ontario Fury bounced back from a rough two-plus week stretch with a 8-5 victory over the San Diego Sockers Premier team Sunday as part of the United States Arena Soccer Open Cup.
The Fury had lost its last three games, including the overtime thriller to Las Vegas that ended with players and coaches from both sides pushing and shoving on the Citizens Business Bank Arena field.
As a result of the post-game actions, three members of the Fury – goaltender Sanaldo, coach Bernie Lilavois and assistant coach Sam George – were suspended one game. The league’s disciplinary committee also suspended Las Vegas players Felipe Gonzalez and Ivan Simental for one game.
The three members of the Fury missed the team’s next game – its first road game of the season. And by the results on the field, they were missed. Tijuana-based Toros Mexico jumped out to a quick lead and never let off the accelerator, as they downed the Fury 18-4. Mikel Palmerin had two goals in the loss for Ontario.
Ontario returned home Dec. 12, and again found itself down early. The four-time defending league champion San Diego Sockers scored the game’s first three goals in a two-minute span and they held on for a 8-6 victory. Luis Piffer had a hat trick as Ontario rallied late in the game to make the game close.
While Sunday’s game does not count in the league standings, the Fury played with a desperation that had been missing at times since the Las Vegas game. Trailing 1-0 after the first period, Ontario scored the next three goals, including a perfectly timed give-and-go between Jhonatan Bravo and Tiguinho that Tiguinho blasted home to tie the game 49 seconds into the quarter.
Ontario ended up getting two goals apiece from Tino Nunez and Majell Aterado, and Bravo had five assists in the game.
With the victory, the Fury advance to the next round of the Open Cup Tournament – a tournament that allows amateur and semi-professional teams compete against pro clubs for the chance to be crowned the best indoor soccer team in the country. Ontario’s next Open Cup game will be against the San Diego Sockers on Dec. 28 – a regularly scheduled PASL game that will count toward the league standings and determine who moves on in the tournament.
But before that, Ontario goes out on its first long-distance road trip this weekend. The Fury will travel to mainland Mexico for a pair of games, as they will take on the Monterrey Flash on Friday and Rancho Seco Saltillo on Saturday.