by Bill Norris

(Ontario, CA) - After scoring three goals on its first three shots, the Ontario Fury looked like they might run away with their Ron Newman Cup first round game Wednesday night against the Dallas Sidekicks.

But the Sidekicks, which finished in last in the Major Arena Soccer League standings in the 2021 season, chipped away at the Fury lead, closing within a goal in the fourth quarter, before the Fury slammed the door for a 9-7 victory Wednesday at Toyota Arena.

The Fury scored three times in the opening 4:04, with Justin Stinson scoring twice, and Juan Carlos Gonzalez slamming another home. The Sidekicks woke up after that, with Oscar Romero putting the ball on net that deflected off a Fury player to close the Fury lead to two. But Nestor Hernandez tallied to close the scoring in the first, as Ontario took a 4-1 lead into the second.

The two teams settled things down in the second, as they traded goals in the second 15 minute period, maintaining a three-goal lead at the half.

Dallas came out with a stronger push in the second half, scoring 47 seconds in as Felipe de Sousa closed the Fury lead to two. But Ontario kept punching back. Stinson completed a hat trick on the power play, knocking home a shot/pass from Juan Topete. But two minutes later, de Sousa got his second of the game. Uzi Tayou gave the Fury the three-goal lead back, breaking loose on a breakaway off a pass from Gonzalez.

But Dallas pulled within one with a pair of goals to open the fourth. Lipe Andrade scored 1:28 into the quarter and Romero scored his second of the game 1:32 later, forcing Ontario to call a time out.

Maicon de Abreu got the Fury back up by two, taking an errant Dallas pass for a 2-on-0 break on Dallas goalie Juan Gamboa. He and Gonzalez passed back-and-forth, with de Abreu hammering the ball home.

Dallas got back within one as Romero completed a hat trick, scoring off a pass from de Sousa, making it a one-goal game again with 8:48 remaining.

But Ontario was able to regain ball control, and held off the Sidekicks with its defense – blocking seven shots in the game, and goalkeeper Claysson de Lima making 18 saves. Gonzalez put the game on ice, firing a shot past sixth attacker Ricardinho with 35 seconds remaining.

The two teams now travel to Allen, Texas, for Game 2 of the first round series. The game at the Allen Events Center is scheduled for a 1 p.m. PDT kickoff. Should Dallas win Sunday’s game in regulation, there will be a 15-minute mini-game to determine the series winner.