by Bill Norris

The Ontario Fury, Driven by Mark Christopher Chevrolet, will hope to make up ground in the competitive Major Arena Soccer League Pacific Division this weekend as they head out for a two-game, three-day road trip that will span the length of California.

Ontario (3-4) will embark north first to take on the Turlock Express at 7 p.m. Friday night at Turlock Indoor Soccer, then return south for a 5 p.m. kickoff against the division-leading San Diego Sockers. Both games will be available for viewing on the MASL TV channel on YouTube.

The Express (4-6) are a half-game behind the Fury in the Pacific Division, and lost to Ontario 7-5 at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Nov. 25, 2016. Ontario carried a 6-1 lead into the fourth quarter in the game and held on, scoring a game-clinching goal against six attackers with 28 seconds remaining. But the Express are undefeated at home this season, knocking off the top two teams in the Pacific, San Diego and Tacoma, at Turlock Indoor Soccer, one of the smallest facilities in the league. Anibal Echeverria and Martyn Arista, who each have 12 goals on the season, lead Turlock this season. Christopher Welch has been solid in goal, posting a .636 save percentage in earning a 4-4 record.

After Friday night’s game, Ontario will make the drive down Interstate 15 to the Valley View Casino Center for a rematch against the San Diego Sockers (7-3). The two teams met Dec. 30, with San Diego scoring the game’s final five goals to beat Ontario 10-6 to close out 2016 for both teams. This will be the last regular season meeting between the two teams. The Sockers are led this season by their new all-team leading scorer, Kraig Chiles, who has 19 goals on the season. Matt Clare is second on the team in scoring, netting 10 goals with 12 assists.

Ontario enters this weekend’s action having played the fewest games in the league at seven. The Fury are led on offense by the trio of Mauricio Salles (seven goals, six assists), Leonardo de Oliveira (nine goals, three assists) and Nick Perera (six goals, five assists).

The Fury will return home Jan. 13 for their first-ever meeting against the Kansas City Comets. The 7 p.m. kickoff will feature Ontario wearing special jerseys honoring the Scheu Family YMCA of Upland, which will be auctioned off after the game to benefit the YMCA and its programs. Tickets for the game are on sale now at the Citizens Business Bank Arena office and online at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets, including group ticket packages, can be ordered through the Fury’s ticket office by calling 909-457-0252. The game against Kansas City will start of stretch of games where the Fury will play six out of seven games at home.

For information, go to OntarioFury.com.