Wild Contest Sees Fury Fall 8-7 to Turlock in Overtime

by Gunnar Berndt

Ontario’s five-goal comeback falls short as Express bags first win of the season

By Gunnar Berndt

Turlock, Calif. – The Ontario Fury suffered a second straight overtime defeat away from home on Friday night, falling 8-7 to hosts Turlock Express in a highly entertaining Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) affair full of twists and turns. The game’s memorable fourth quarter, which featured a total of ten tallies, saw the Fury take advantage of injuries to both Turlock goalkeepers to claw its way back from a five-goal deficit, only to fall victim to a golden goal by Martyn Arista.

While recent Ontario arrival Victor Quiroz had yet another noteworthy offensive performance with three strikes, Arista and outstanding Express defender-midfielder Adrian Plascencia each scored a brace and their teammate Douglas Lima bagged a pair of assists.

The two sides exchanged tallies in the opening quarter, with Plascencia converting a Jorge Carmona assist for Turlock and the Fury’s William Raygoza setting up Maicon De Abreu for the equalizer. Juan Carlos Gonzalez very nearly gave the visitors from Ontario the lead, but his powerful shot skipped off the top of the crossbar.

The home team’s response was ruthless, as Carmona made it 2-1 on a power play just over three minutes into the second period, touching home an assist by Matthew Germain. Each of the opposing squads would come close to scoring again, Fury defender Thiago Goncalves beating the goalkeeper only to see his blast cleared off the line by Plascencia, and Ontario netminder Chris Toth coming up with an excellent one-on-one stop to keep it a one-goal game.

Toth’s teammate Marcus Jordan subsequently agonized over not leveling the score. His effort with Turlock substitute shot-stopper Martin Sanchez away from goal was was prevented from crossing the line by a last-ditch Matt Max scramble.

After an uneventful third quarter, the Fury’s Evan McNeley set the tone for a wild closing period of regulation time, as he seemed to have an open shot at the far post but failed to make clean contact on the ball. Ontario defender Quiroz recorded an unassisted goal to bring his side to within one, only for Lima to make a great run down the left at the other end and center to Plascencia for a simple finish and a 4-2 Express lead. Carlos Manzo then finished off an assist by Max and Juan Carlos Bugarin picked out Arista, followed by an unnecessary Fury giveaway that allowed Christian Ivan Leal to tap into the open net and make it 7-2.

The run of three unanswered tallies by the home side came amid what should have been a considerable Fury advantage, as Turlock netminder Sanchez had been subbed off due to injury with the score at 4-2, having himself replaced the injured Edgar Martinez in the first quarter. Field player Adrian Pulido took over between the sticks for Sanchez and impressed with a number of strong saves over the course of a period of relentless pressure by the visitors from Southern California.

Ontario’s determined attacking efforts finally did pay off against the increasingly exhausted legs of the Turlock players. After Quiroz profited from a clever dummy by netminder Toth, who had joined his side’s attack, De Abreu also scored for the Fury on an assist by fellow Brazilian Goncalves and Quiroz completed his hat trick to bring the scoreline to 7-5. The closing stages of the fourth period then saw Goncalves rifle home a long-range volley on an assist from former Express midfielder Anibal Echeverria, setting the stage for McNeley’s dramatic equalizer from the left with 23 seconds remaining on the clock.

After so much back and forth, the day’s golden goal came in somewhat anticlimactic fashion from the Fury’s perspective, with Quiroz bringing down a streaking Manzo from behind to deny a quality scoring chance and Arista burying his no-nonsense blast on the ensuing shootout. Despite Ontario having all the momentum and seeming slated for victory, it would thus be the home side picking up its first win of the 2018-19 campaign and handing Head Coach Jimmy Nordberg’s men a stinging loss.

Given the Tacoma Stars’ parallel defeat of El Paso on Friday, the 7-7 Ontario Fury is now tied with its MASL Pacific Division foes in winning percentage and will be desperate to snatch its streak of recent disappointing results when it hosts mighty rivals San Diego Sockers on Thursday, February 7. Tickets to all Fury home games at Citizens Business Bank Arena may be purchased by by clicking here or by calling 909-457-0252.