EL PASO, Texas – FC Tulsa can’t seem to get on the right side of a red card controversy. A straight red shown to midfielder Lebo Moloto for a confrontation with El Paso Locomotive FC defender Yuma, following a whistle in the 33′ minute, played into a 3-1 loss to El Paso on Wednesday night. Video replay clearly showed Moloto made no contact, yet Yuma went down like he’d been struck. The act worked and head official Elton Garcia ejected Moloto.
It’s the fourth consecutive road loss in USL Championship play to start the season for FC Tulsa as the team now sits at 3-6-0 and is mired in a four-match losing streak.
A wild first half started in favor of FC Tulsa as Michael Nsien’s side got off to the fast start it had been searching for on the road all season. A goal for the good inside the first 10 minutes gave FC Tulsa the lead in El Paso when JJ Williams got up to meet a free kick sent in from Moloto. Williams went far post with his header, notching his 5th goal of the 2022 season.
FC Tulsa gave the lead right back just three minutes later when El Paso scored on a header of its own. Dylan Mares nodded Christiano Francois’ cross past Sean Lewis and into the net. Lewis kept the match tied with two big saves in the middle of the opening half. The two early saves Lewis an even 200 in his USL Championship career.
In the 32′ minute, FC Tulsa again was hit with a controversial red card - its second of the season. Moloto and Locomotive FC defender Yuma went nose to nose and despite no contact, Yuma went down, drawing a red card from the match official, Elton Garcia. The card forced FC Tulsa to play a man down for the final 60 minutes of the match.
Midway through the second half, the man advantage paid dividends as El Paso found a second. Forward Luis Solignac spun and shot in the box, and while Lewis got a foot to the shot, the ball caromed in to give El Paso the lead.
Locomotive found the clincher in the 89′ minute when Solignac secured his brace.
The three goals allowed by FC Tulsa now give the team 18 allowed in nine league matches, and multiple goals allowed in six straight. Coming back to Tulsa for a home match on Saturday night, Tulsa will attempt to stop the slide against Detroit City FC at ONEOK Field.
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