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Southern Oregon Fuego midfielder Iman Siadat

Former Grizzlies come up big as Fuego throttles Arsenal

Fisher scores, Cross secures goal in Southern Oregon’s win over Arsenal

The Southern Oregon Fuego made sure the fifth annual Firecracker Game lived up to its name.

The Fuego exploded for four goals in the first half and let off the gas only slightly in the second in a dominating 6-1 win over Arsenal on Wednesday at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Spencer Hunter and Thomas Souza each scored two goals and former Ashland High star Cory Fisher added another only 15 minutes in, as the Fuego wasted no time putting away the top team from a Rogue Valley Mexican league.

With the win, the Fuego wraps up its finest summer exhibition season ever at 7-1-1, with its lone loss coming to nationally ranked Oregon State.

“I think it was a great way to end the season,” Fuego coach Kevin Primerano said. “The guys have worked hard for the last three or four months.

“We’ve seen this team before and it’s always been a dogfight, but tonight we were able to break through. They’re a talented team, we just ended up with the ability to finish our chances tonight.”

Thomas Souza and Will Dolan also scored one goal apiece for the Fuego. After Dolan’s header made it 5-1 late in the second half, the former first-team all-Southern Oregon Conference defender climbed the stairs behind the goal and hugged his dad.

Hunter scored the capper in stoppage time on a ground-skimming free kick just outside the box.

After taking a big first-half lead, the Fuego was content to fall back and defend its goal for most of the second half. Arsenal, which suffered its first loss to fall to 9-1-2, dominated the battle for field position but still could not sneak a shot past former Ashland High all-star Greg Cross.

The first half was a different story, as Fuego took control with a precision passing game that Arsenal couldn’t match.

“Our game plan was to keep possession of the ball and stretch the field, work the flanks and break their defense down,” Primerano said. “We knew that they like to play over the top a lot and to prevent that we just needed to make sure that we kept the ball and chose our opportunities to go forward.”

The Fuego is now off until November, when it starts its second season in the Premier Arena Soccer League. Its PASL home games will be played in Klamath Falls.