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Ventura County Fusion Play to a 2-2 Draw vs. So Cal Seahorses

The Ventura County Fusion played the So Cal Seahorses to a 2-2 draw Wednesday night at Biola University. The Fusion, playing its second game of the 2022 USL League 2 season, led 2-1 at the 75-minute mark, and looked like a lock to run its record to 2-0-0, but a breakaway goal by Quentin Hornung brought the Seahorses back to level.

So Cal Seahorses opened the scoring a minute and a half into the game. Jose Garfias stripped the ball from Fusion defender Dylan Shockey deep in the Fusion zone and passed out wide to Gerardo De La Torre Jr. who drilled a shot that Fusion goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli deflected just to the right of goal. SoCal’s Leo Mendez pounced on the rebound and slotted it past Chavez - Borrelli to put the Seahorses up 1-0.

“That first goal they scored was very frustrating said Fusion head coach Mike Elias.” “They press really high and quickly with numbers so it was important that we didn’t get caught in the back. But unfortunately, we tried to dribble out and lost the ball and the space was there for them to exploit and score.”

From that point on, the Fusion worked itself into the match, dominating possession and creating a number of scoring chances, primarily due to an aggressive press and the holdup play of center forward Logan Farrington. At the 31-minute mark, Farrington got on the end of a corner kick by Bastien Oberli and headed it into the left bottom corner of Mitchell Wilson’s goal to knot the game at one. Fifteen minutes later, winger Nathaniel Opoku put the Fusion on top on a chance created by Farrington. The Fusion striker drove forward to the left of goal, juked Wilson to the ground and rolled a pass across the mouth of goal which Opoku converted for an easy tap in.

The two teams traded positive streaks in the second half, creating chances but no goals. For the first 25 minutes, the Fusion midfield of Oberli, Thaabit Baartman and Abubukar Fofanah created turnover after turnover and kept the ball in the Seahorses’ half. But by the 70th minute, the Seahorses began to threaten. Finally, after a shot by Farrington, Wilson booted the ball long, starting a counter that ended up with Hornung knotting the game at 2 apiece.

The Fusion took 16 shots to seven for the Seahorses and committed 18 fouls to 22 for the Seahorses. While frustrated with the loss, Elias thought his team followed the game plan well and gave the team a lot of positives to draw from going forward. The Fusion and will meet the Seahorses again in the team’s home opener, next Friday night at Ventura College stadium.

The draw puts Fusion in a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference, Southwest division. The Fusion travel to Fresno for a Sunday evening matchup with Central Valley Fuego FC 2. Central Valley Fuego FC 2 is coming off a 4-1 loss at the hands of division-leading Project 510.

“Fresno could offer us a new set of challenges but we are confident and happy to go into that game,” said Elias. “What we do as a coaching staff is we look at our style, analyze the team we’re playing against and practice how we’re going to set ourselves up, handle their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. We will be ready to go.”

Next Home game: The Fusion plays its home opener Friday, June 3 at Ventura College against the So Cal Seahorses. The game starts at 7 pm.

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