Ontario Downs El Paso 8-2 as Jermaine Jones Bags Goal, Assist
Home win sees Fury inch closer to second Pacific Division playoff spot
By Gunnar Berndt
Ontario, Calif. – The Ontario Fury bagged an important 8-2 victory over the visiting El Paso Coyotes on Sunday evening that sees the Inland Empire club put additional pressure on the Tacoma Stars in the hunt for the second postseason berth in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) Pacific Division. Sitting in third place at 10-11, Head Coach Jimmy Nordberg’s Ontario now trails 10-10 Tacoma by the proverbial hair’s breadth, making for the possibility of a photo finish to the two teams’ regular seasons.
Against El Paso, recent Fury signing and former U.S. National Team and FIFA World Cup star Jermaine Jones recorded his first goal and first assist in front of the home fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Jones’ teammate Chris Toth had a stellar performance in goal, as he kept the opposition to a pair of tallies over 60 minutes.
The Fury took control of the match from the get-go, forcing two outstanding saves from Coyotes netminder Eduardo Arevalo Gonzalez. First the 39-year-old went down low to deny Israel Sesay on a one-on-one opportunity. Then he produced a stunning reflex to defuse a hard shot by Jones, managing to stop the ball right on the goal line. Ontario ‘keeper Toth did not have to wait much longer to prove his value at the other end, as he did equally well to deflect Hector Estupinan’s effort on a wide-open look from close range.
The game’s opening tally came before the end of the first quarter, Jones collecting his inaugural home assist for the Fury by picking out Maicon de Abreu at the doorstep. The initial milestone would be followed by a second one not long thereafter, as another recent Ontario arrival, Scotsman Troy McKerrell, recorded the first ever goal of his MASL career, converting on a pass by DeBray Hollimon to make it 2-0. The hosts added one more strike before the break, Juan Carlos Gonzalez rifling a left-footed rocket inside the near post from a tough angle, with the assist going to forward Francisco Cordeiro.
Following intermission, El Paso shot-stopper Eduardo Arevalo Gonzalez did his best to prevent a fourth Fury netter, coming up with an outstanding double save to keep out dangerous attempts by Andy Reyes and De Abreu. However, the veteran was helpless on a subsequent long-range blast into the upper ninety by midfielder Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who completed his brace on the play. After ex-U.S. ace Jones opened his Ontario home goal-scoring account via an unassisted strike that extended the lead to 5-0, the visitors from Texas pulled one back when Hugo Puentes scored on a pass by Eduardo Cisneros.
The Fury restored its previous advantage in the closing period, Anibal Echeverria putting in his bid for best goal of the MASL weekend by taking his turn to blast a bullet into the upper ninety, this one from way outside the area. Puentes was unlucky not to find the net for the Coyotes, his low driven ball bouncing off the left post, and the visitors were punished for the missed chance when Ontario’s William Raygoza displayed dizzying foot skills before calmly slotting a shot around the screened opposition netminder to make it 7-1.
While Alejandro Balbuena converted an Arturo Vega assist to score for El Paso on a power play, the hosts appropriately bagged the day’s final tally, midfielder Reyes cleaning up after Raygoza had seen his attempted tap-in with the ‘keeper off his line blocked by Angel Gamez in a last-ditch goal-line effort.
With the Pacific Division playoff race coming down to the wire, Jermaine Jones and the Ontario Fury look to further increase the pressure on direct competitors Tacoma Stars when they host the Turlock Express on Saturday, March 30. Tickets to all Fury games at Citizens Business Bank Arena may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 909-457-0252.