Ontario, Calif. – The Empire Strykers went toe-to-toe with one of the top sides in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) on Sunday evening, only to fall 8-4 to the Monterrey Flash after missing a golden chance to get to within one in the game’s closing period. In front of 3,700 fans at Ontario’s Toyota Arena, Empire’s Justin Stinson had a brace and an assist while fellow midfielder Marco Fabián had two goals of his own. With the win, the Flash keeps its impressive win streak alive, improving to 15-0-0 (wins-losses-overtime/shootout losses) on the season. The Strykers drop to 3-10-0.
The clash between Empire and Monterrey was noteworthy for featuring a pair of two-time FIFA World veterans, with Mexico’s Fabián representing Empire and Ecuador’s Walter Ayoví taking the field for Monterrey.
The visitors drew first blood when a wide-open Edgar González nodded home a helper by Jhon Ponce. The Strykers very nearly drew level shortly thereafter, Momo Gueye embarking on a dynamic solo run down the right before cutting inside and releasing a low driven shot that was kept out by the fingertips of diving netminder Berna Valdovinos. Instead of the equalizer, those in attendance witnessed another tally at the other end. Making his second straight start between the sticks, Empire’s Brian Orozco produced an excellent save to deny Daniel Villela but was left without a chance as Irvin Mojica fired home the rebound.
The Flash quickly made it 0-3 inside the second quarter, Mojica picking out Jorge Luis Cortés on a counterattack, followed by the Strykers’ first goal of the match. Stinson didn’t seem to have much of an angle to shoot on the right but released a wicked right-footed drive that found its way inside the left upright. Any momentum the home side might have gained from the netter was quickly dampened when Ayoví streaked down the left and fired just wide of the near post, the ball trickling over the line via the back of unlucky ‘keeper Orozco.
Monterrey should have made it 1-5, but Cortés smashed a sitter off the inside of the right post after being found centrally by way of a brilliant wall pass from the left by Genaro Castillo. The away side subsequently did bag its fifth on a gorgeous power play goal, Cortés chipping the ball across the box from the left and González heading it into the center, where it was nodded home from the doorstep by Castillo. The Strykers came…