by Bill Norris

The Ontario Fury, Driven by Mark Christopher Chevrolet, will head to Kent, Wash., Friday evening for the first of crucial back-to-back games against the Tacoma Stars.

The game, to be played at the accesso ShoWare Center, will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and can be watched live on MASL.tv.

Ontario comes into the game on a two-game winning streak, and having won three of its last four games. The Fury lead the Stars by two games in the race for second place in the Pacific Division, and will play the Stars again at 7 p.m. next Thursday at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The next two games could play a huge role in the final standings, and who advances to the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs.

Ontario’s offense has been clicking in its last two games, scoring 23 goals in their two victories. Leading scorer Leonardo de Oliveira scored four goals in the Fury’s 14-4 win last week against Turlock, and has 10 goals on the season. The Fury’s defense has also stepped up, only allowing six goals in the last two games, and are only allowing an average of six goals a game against.

Meanwhile, the Stars have struggled to put the ball in the net this season, only averaging 4.8 goals per game. To help, Tacoma acquired former Fury forward Nick Perera from Syracuse. Perera, also a member of the US National Beach Soccer team, only played three games for the Silver Knights (none at home), scoring four goals and adding two assists. Last season with Ontario, he was second on the team with 17 goals and 16 assists. Midfielders Philip Lund (8G, 0A) and Joey Gjertsen (4G, 4A) lead the Stars in points with eight apiece. Goaltender Danny Waltman has been in net for all nine of the Stars’ games, stopping 61.8 percent of the shots against him, while only allowing six goals against a game.

The Fury will be without first-year coach Jimmy Nordberg, who is at a US Soccer Federation coaching event. Assistant coach Thales Peterson will behind the bench to lead Ontario in Friday’s game.

Ontario, which plays its next five games against Pacific Division opponents, return home to take on Tacoma at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at Citizens Business Bank Arena. After that game, the Fury will head to Northern California to take on the Turlock Express at 7 p.m. Jan. 12.

 Tickets for the Jan. 11 game, as well as all Fury home games, are on sale now at the Citizens Business Bank Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the Fury’s offices at 909-457-0252. Group tickets and experiences are also available, including chances to be on the field before or after the game. Go to OntarioFury.com for more information about tickets or group plans.