The Fresno Fuego are headed to the Premier Development League playoffs for the first time in three years, securing their ticket with a 2-0 victory Thursday evening over the visiting BYU Cougars at Chukchansi Park.
Christian Chaney scored his league-leading 13th goal of the season in the 26th minute, heading in Alvaro Nogales’ assist for a 1-0 Fresno lead.
Fresno Fuego 2, BYU Cougars 0 First half: 1, F, Christian Chaney (Alvaro Nogales) 26th. 2, F, Nogales 42nd. Shots: Fuego 8, Cougars 1. Saves: Fuego 1 (Agustin Rey), Cougars 5 (Brenden Ottman). Fouls: Fuego 14, Cougars 8. Yellow cards: Fuego 2 (Bruno Brumati 65th, Rey 90th), Cougars 2 (Tanner Withworth 65th, Ethan Meyer 81st). Records: Fuego 8-2-1, Cougars 4-5-3
In the 42nd, Nogales added a goal to his tally, converting a penalty after the Cougars’ Emmanuel Lartey was whistled for a handball in the box.
Fresno’s defense kept the Cougars silenced after halftime, securing the club’s third shutout in a row and fifth in its last six matches. Goalkeeper Agustin Rey had one save against the Cougars (4-5-3), and with the help of his defense has not allowed a goal in the last 329 minutes of play.
Fresno (8-2-1) clinched at least second place in the Central Pacific Division standings, which it currently leads with 24 points and three games to play.
5 shutouts by Fresno Fuego and goalkeeper Agustin Rey in their last six matches
The Fuego are unbeaten in nine consecutive matches and will try and make it 10 in their last home match of the regular season on Saturday against the Southern California Seahorses. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
A victory against the Seahorses, paired with a Burlingame Dragons loss or draw against BYU (7 p.m. kickoff), would see the Fuego crowned as outright division champion.
WPSL: FRESNO FREEZE VS. CALIFORNIA STORM
- Kickoff: 5 p.m. at Chukchansi Park
- Records: Freeze 6-0-1, Storm 4-1-1
- Of note: The Freeze look to extend their unbeaten streak to eight matches against the second-place Storm, who sit six points behind Fresno in the NorCal division with 13.
PDL: FRESNO FUEGO VS. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SEAHORSES
- Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Chukchansi Park
- Records: Fuego 8-2-1, Seahorses 2-6-2
- Last meeting: Fresno won 1-0 on June 4 in La Mirada.
- Webcast/TV: Youtube.com/CMACFresno (Xfinity 94/AT&T U-Verse 99)