The Ventura County Fusion started off hot, and exploded for a record-tying four extra time goals to take out the hosting Fullerton Rangers on Tuesday night. The Fusion notched a brace in the first 22 minutes, but couldn’t make the lead hold in the second half.
After the game started as an end-to-end affair, the Fusion proved to win that game even-handed. Michael Roman took the feed from Kennedy Chongo in the back of the penalty box at 17′, and lofted it over Fullerton keeper Geovanni Hernandez to put Ventura on the board. Fullerton insisted in continuing the fast pace, and were torched again at 22′. The Rangers were caught napping, as three Ventura County players found themselves onside at close range. Francisco Lopez received from Chris Tsonis at close range, and slotted his second. Realizing their situation, Fullerton slowed the game down, their defense holding serve to prevent more damage going into the half.
The urgency started to build for the Rangers early in the 2nd half, and they started clawing their way back 55 minutes in. David Arvizu slid the ball in past Sam Hayden, cutting the deficit down to 1. Despite Sean Toth recieving a red for his second booking, Fullerton rallied around their lost man and leveled at the 67′ mark, with Eder Roldan doing the honors. Roldan put an excellent shot past Hayden, shocking Ventura. With both defenses proving sturdy, neither team could capitalize on rare chances by the end of regulation.
However, Ventura attacked early in extra time, and it paid off. Chongo was fouled in the box by the Rangers’ Leobardo Alvarez, and Francisco Lopez calmly slotted home the penalty bottom left to restore Ventura’s lead three minutes in. They seemingly plunged the dagger in at 98′, Chongo sliding in to restore the two-goal lead. Daniel Steres and Rodrigo Lopez would propel the Fusion into history with goals in the last ten minutes. Ventura County ended with four tallies in extra time, tying a Pro Era record. Miami FC notched the same amount in ET against the Central Florida Kraze (now Orlando City U23s) in the first round of 2010. Ventura’s chemistry proved to be electric to equal that goal, and look to continue that momentum next Tuesday, as they travel to Fullerton Stadium to play the Los Angeles Blues at 7:30 PM Pacific.