Fresno Fuego suffer another tough PDL defeat

The Fresno BeeJune 19, 2014 

Fresno Fuego coach Scott Alcorn had seen enough.

So much so that Alcorn spent about a minute sitting bent forward with his hands on both sides of his head during the final minutes Thursday.

The Fuego's troublesome season continued, as they blew a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes PDL team before an estimated crowd of 3,000 at Chukchansi Park.

Though the Fresno club has six players with professional experience, the Fuego dropped to 3-5-1 for the season — a year after finishing 11-1-2.

"It has not been your typical Fuego season," Alcorn said. "I think what's happened is the guys with the pro experience were role players at the pro level. And when they came back here, we were expecting them to be the leader.

"I guess it's not in them to lead, be the guy who's the No. 1 and take the initiative. You're going to see a younger lineup next weekend; that's for sure. It's time."

The Fuego received goals from Trevor Spurgeon and Abraham Campos within the first 27 minutes. But then they couldn't generate anything more and San Jose controlled the ball the remainder of the way.

Fresno gave up a goal after an Earthquakes' penalty kick bounced off a Fuego defender, then was corralled and booted into the net 2 minutes before halftime by Matthew Sheldon.

The Fuego allowed another goal less than 2 minutes into the second half, as the Earthquakes tied the score at 2-2 on Joshua Smith's header.

The teams then booted the ball back and forth, mostly with San Jose owning possession.

Then in the 79th minute, San Jose's Nick Cashmere scored the go-ahead goal on a shot less than 5 feet out with Fuego goalkeeper Cesar Castillo out of position.

Fresno's defense was softened with top center back Cody Ellison out of town and unavailable for Thursday's game.

"I thought we lost our composure in the second half," Alcorn said. "That's disheartening. We're OK when Cody is back there. But up front, just (no) consistency. That's going to be an issue for us. If we're going to win games, we're going to win them 1-0, maybe 2-1. We can't outscore people. That's just who we are."

Seasoned Fuego forward Tyler Reinhart, meanwhile, remained without any goals or assists on the season. Thursday was his second game back after serving a four-game suspension for elbowing a player in the face.

Reinhart, in his sixth year with the Fuego, had been a key cog to Fresno's success in past seasons.

"It's one of those tough times that we're going through," Reinhart said. "We just got to keep fighting, working hard, try to claw our way out of this."

 

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, bjanteola@fresnobee.com or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.

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