The dry spell that plagued the Fresno Fuego offense to start the Premier Development League season finally ended as the Fuego shut out Brigham Young 4-0 in front of 1,845 fans Thursday night at Chukchansi Park.
"It feels good," said starting midfielder Jose "Chiva" Cuevas, who finished with three assists. "We had to do a lot of changes with our formation and the style we were playing. We trained all week and it worked."
Before Thursday's match, Fresno had been outscored 8-5, with just one victory — a 2-0 win over San Jose last month.
The Fuego turned it around using a revamped 4-4-2 formation.
Cuevas and Jonathan Colunga fed forwards Gregory Antognoli and Abraham Campos from the midfield. Defenders Cody Ellison and Trevor Spurgeon, who moved from left back to center after Eddie Gonzalez went down with a pulled right hamstring in the first half, kept the Fuego's backline solid for the team's second shutout of the PDL season.
Campos opened the scoring in the 21st minute, heading in a near-perfect volley from Cuevas into the far post.
After halftime, Paul Islas — who returned to the Fuego last season after being drafted by Chivas USA and a short stint with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro — found his groove, netting three goals in 30 minutes off the bench.
"That's the Paul Islas we know and like to see," said coach Scott Alcorn.
Islas was scoreless in four PDL matches (six including two U.S. Open Cup games) until he replaced Colunga in the 60th minute.
In the 67th minute, Cuevas found Islas on a run through the Cougars' backline, setting the substitute up for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper that he easily put away into the back of the net.
Islas scored in the 79th on a chip shot over the goalie and again 10 minutes later on a pass from JP Medina to make it 4-0.
"I definitely gained some confidence with that first goal," Islas said. "Once I found the net, I started getting in the zone. I got that taste of what the net feels like and I wanted more from there."
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