by Bill Norris

When you play your first home game of the season, you hope that you will be able to take advantage of your home field. Get a few bounces and hope a break or two go your way.

But Wednesday night at Toyota Arena, the Ontario Fury got none of those breaks. In fact, most of them went against them.

Ontario hit three posts and a crossbar in the third quarter, and accidentally knocked the ball into their own net twice as they fell to the Florida Tropics 6-3 in front of an empty Toyota Arena in Ontario.

The issues started in the opening seconds, as Florida pressed from the opening kickoff. They crashed the net, as Ian Bennett pushed in a rebound of a Joey Tavernese shot just 13 seconds into the game for a quick 1-0 lead.

Florida got its first break less than four minutes later, as Ontario defender Juan Topete deflected the ball into his own net off the foot of Florida’s VcMor Eligwe.

But Ontario finally found its legs midway through the first quarter. On a three-on-one break, Nestor Hernandez one-timed a pass from Juan Carlos Gonzalez to cut the lead in half.

Ontario took the lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Gonzalez converted from the left side 2:09 into the period. Then, 1:29 later, Maicon Abreu slotted a shot home on a pass from Thiago Goncalves.

But the rest of the second quarter belonged to the Tropics. Bennett tied the game at the 5:12 mark on a pass from Eligwe, then Eligwe gave Florida a lead, tapping home a pass from Lucas Montelares. Then, as the period wound down, Nate Bourdeau sent an innocent looping pass to the middle from the right boards, and it bounded in off of the Fury’s Israel Sesay. Anthony Arico closed the scoring with 26 seconds remaining in the half, converting on Eligwe’s second assist and fourth point of the night.

In the third, the Fury pressed forward in the second half – after being outshot 23-9 in the first 30 minutes. Ontario outshot the Tropics 13-3 in the final two quarters, not including three shots off the side posts and one that bounced off the crossbar behind goalkeeper Hugo Silva. The Tropics also blocked 10 Ontario shots in the game.

Neither team will have much time to recover. The Tropics will take on the Tacoma Stars on Thursday night at Toyota Arena, while the Fury will take on Tacoma on Friday night in the empty arena. Both games will begin at 6 p.m. PST and be available on the Major Arena Soccer League’s Facebook Live pay-per-view broadcast.