by Bill Norris

A pair of unlikely goal scorers lifted the Ontario Fury into the first Ron Newman Cup Championship series in franchise history Saturday night, as Ontario advanced with a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Comets in the deciding mini-game, winning the semifinal series two games to one.

Ontario will now host the championship series against the San Diego Sockers, who dispatched the Major Arena Soccer League’s regular season champions, the Florida Tropics, two games to none. The championship games are scheduled for April 9 and April 11 at Toyota Arena in Ontario. If the series is tied after two games, a 15-minute mini-game will be played to determine the winner.

After falling in overtime in Game 2, 7-6, the Fury fell behind in the mini-game after Dominic Francis scored on the power play 5:37 into the game.

But the Fury rallied back nearly three minutes later, as Jorge Deleon – who only had two goals in the regular season – converted a pass from Israel Sesay to tie the game. Just 44 seconds later, defender Uzi Tayou – who had no regular season goals – put home the eventual game-winner.

In the earlier Game 2, the Fury fell behind 3-0 in the second quarter before getting on the board thanks to a goal from forward Franck Tayou. But a late power play goal gave the Comets a 4-1 lead going into the half.

Ontario tied it in the third, as Franck Tayou, Justin Stinson and Juan Carlos Gonzalez each scored, setting up a tight fourth quarter.

The host Comets scored twice in 28 seconds late in the fourth, putting the Fury back on their heels Lucas Sousa scored with 4:59 remaining, then Ramone Palmer followed, giving the Comets a two-goal lead.

But the Fury scratched back with an extra attacker. First, on the power play, Franck Tayou completed a hat trick on a pass from Jeff Hughes. Then, with 40 seconds remaining, Maicon de Abreu sent the game into overtime.

Dominic Francis sent the two teams to a mini-game, taking a pass from goalkeeper Nicolau Neto and beating Fury goalkeeper Claysson de Lima 3:13 into the extra period.

Details about the championship series will be released soon, as California’s public safety guidelines will not allow fans as of Saturday. Both games will be shown via the Major Arena Soccer League’s Facebook Live pay-per-view.