The Ventura County Fusion Take on Ballard FC in USL League 2 Western Conference Final
Fixture: Ventura County Fusion (8-2-2) vs. Ballard FC (8-2-2)
Date & Time: Friday, July 29|3 pm CDT
Venue: Valley Stadium| Des Moines, IA
Twitter and Instagram: @VCFusion
The Ventura County Fusion takes on Ballard FC in the USL League 2 Western Conference Final, Friday, July 29 at Valley Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. Game time is 3 pm CDT. Fusion fans can catch the action live on Elevensports here.
The Fusion, which finished second in the Southwest Division to Project 510 due to a 3-goal differential, advanced to the Conference Final with a 2-1 victory over the SoCal Seahorses last weekend at Whittier College. Ballard FC, which competes in the Western Conference’s Northwest Division, advanced to the Final with wins over two of the Fusion’s Southwest Division rivals, Project 51O and the San Francisco Glens.
“Ballard is a very good team, well organized with some outstanding individual talent,” said Fusion head coach Mike Elias. “We will have our work cut out for us for sure, however we have prepared for the encounter and are looking forward to the game.”
In its inaugural USL League 2 season, Ballard FC, like the Fusion, finished second in its division with a record of 8-2-2. The Washington club plays its home matches at Interbay Stadium, the home stadium for Seattle Pacific University, just outside of downtown Ballard. Its roster is largely composed of local players and those attending Washington universities including Gonzaga University, Seattle University, and Western Washington University.
Alex Mejia, an NCAA Division 2 All-American, who led Seattle Pacific into the 2021 NCAA Division II men's soccer playoffs with a league-leading 14 goals, is Ballard FC’s leading scorer with seven goals for the season. Cameron Martin, a midfielder from Mill Creek Washington who plays his college ball at Michigan, is second with five goals.
Ballard also features four players from defending Western Athletic Conference Champion Seattle University. Forward Declan McGlynn, perennially ranked among Top Drawer Soccer’s Top 150 college players, is Ballard’s third-leading scorer with four goals, while all-WAC First team goalkeeper Akili Kasim leads the Ballard defense. James Morris and Rory Kingston provide depth going forward.
The Fusion enters the game riding a four-game winning streak that saw it outscore opponents 11-3. Center forward Logan Farrarington has been the team’s leading scorer all year and enters the game with seven goals. Winger Nathaniel Opoku has scored four goals on the season and provides speed on the wing.
“Our team has really come together and there is a sense of togetherness and solidarity that was missing at the beginning of the season,” said Elias. “I am particularly pleased with the way we go about our business and show character regardless of whether we are chasing a game or if we are in front. We have an exciting and dynamic front line that will cause any team problems. We create many opportunities to score but the key is to finish teams off and that’s an area we are still working towards. My hope is that it will all come together going into these finals and then we may be able to reach our full potential.”
Should the Fusion win, it will advance to the National Semifinals July 31st in Des Moines. The 2022 USL League 2 playoffs conclude with the national championship game, on August 6. The Fusion won the national championship in 2009 with a stoppage-time victory over Chicago Fire Premier, becoming the lowest-seeded team to claim the national title.