HARTFORD, Conn. – A late comeback effort on behalf of FC Tulsa was cut short by the final whistle on Saturday night as the club’s goals in the 90′ and 90+5′ minutes were not enough to overcome three first-half concessions.
Hartford needed only nine minutes to open the scoring in this one. Some crisp interplay by the home side following a corner kick left FC Tulsa frantically sprinting from one blue shirt to another. The final pass landed at the feet of Hartford center-back, Tulu, who drifted into open space at the back post, slotting his shot home.
Seven minutes later, every goalkeeper’s worst nightmare materialized for Tulsa keeper Austin Wormell as another corner kick from Hartford was sent in from the corner flag. Wormell was caught between swatting the set piece delivery away and reeling it in, resulting in a punch with backspin that wound up in his own net. Prince Saydee would put a third in the back of the net for Hartford in the 24′ minute, casting a grim shadow over the remaining 75 minutes of play.
Donovan Ricketts made three substitutions at the break, desperately looking to inspire his club. Eric Bird, Lebo Moloto, and Johnny Fenwick took their spots on the pitch, and Marcus Epps followed suit just 11 minutes later.
Moloto’s appearance marked the 200th of his regular season USL Championship career, a milestone not reached by many who have participated in the league. Over his career, Moloto has racked up 31 goals and 34 assists over seven seasons.
However, FC Tulsa refused to go down without a fight and managed a goal in the 90′ minute by way of the Cuban winger Darío Suárez. Christopher Pearson smashed a shot from outside the box into the woodwork, and Darío Suárez’s attacking instincts led him to the perfect spot to collect the rebound, then finish the play for his seventh goal of 2022. In two appearances now for FC Tulsa since signing with the club this summer, Pearson has struck the crossbar to facilitate an FC Tulsa goal twice.
Suárez has now scored in four of FC Tulsa’s last five matches and trails only Rodrigo da Costa for the Tulsa scoring title.
In the 90+5′ minute, da Costa made things even more interesting with his ninth goal of the season on his ninth shot of the night. Bradley Bourgeois laid out with an outstretched leg to keep a pinging ball in bounds just to the right of the Hartford net. The center-back did just enough to direct it to the feet of a hopeful da Costa who rippled the back of the net.
The goals marked FC Tulsa’s 17th and 18th scores in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, the most in the USL Championship.
Unfortunately for Tulsa, the comeback began a little too late as the supposedly impartial clock betrayed the club before it could find an equalizer.
9′ HFD – Tulu
16′ HFD – Austin Wormell (OG)
24′ HFD – Prince Saydee (Peter-Lee Vassell)
90′ TUL – Darío Suárez
90+5′ TUL – Rodrigo da Costa (Bradley Bourgeois)
The second of FC Tulsa’s three consecutive road matches awaits two weeks from Saturday on September 24 in the Motor City. A vital matchup with Detroit City FC, the club directly above Tulsa in the standings, likely will decide the playoff fate of FC Tulsa. Fans can catch the match locally on My41 Tulsa or stream nationally on ESPN+.
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