FC Tulsa falls at Memphis in Ricketts’ debut as interim head coach

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Against one of the hottest teams in the USL Championship, FC Tulsa dropped its midweek road match 2-0 to Memphis 901 FC on Wednesday night. While FC Tulsa showed the defensive grit the team has established over the last few weeks, it didn’t generate enough offense to secure a result in Donovan Ricketts’ debut as the interim head coach. FC Tulsa has now won just one of its last 11 matches and is still searching for its first road victory of the season.

Memphis came into the match just one point off the Eastern Conference lead, and it didn’t take long for 901 FC to strike. Following a beautiful fingertip save from Tulsa keeper Austin Wormell, Memphis converted a corner kick from the head of defender Graham Smith. With plenty of room to operate, Smith fired a header past Wormell from inside the six-yard box in the 14′ minute.

The Memphis goal ended a franchise-record 266-minute shutout streak set by Austin Wormell and the FC Tulsa defense over parts of the last four matches. It broke the previous record, set in 2017, by a single minute.

After Memphis’ goal, Wormell was a wall in net, making five saves in the first 45 minutes, but FC Tulsa went into the locker room without a shot on target in the opening half.

Those heroics carried over into the second half as Wormell made two more saves to keep it a one-goal match into the final 10 minutes until Memphis doubled its lead in the 84′ minute. Derek Dodson skirted a sharp-angle shot just past the diving hand of Wormell to all but end the match.

The 2-0 defeat extended an offensive slump for FC Tulsa that has stretched throughout the month of June as Tulsa has managed one goal in its four matches this month.

GOALS

14′ MEM - Graham Smith (Aaron Molloy)

84′ MEM - Derek Dodson (Leston Paul)

RICKETTS TAKES OVER

Former MLS and Jamaican international legend Donovan Ricketts was on the touchline for the first time as the team’s interim head coach after being named to the position on Friday. Ricketts is only the fourth person to serve as the head coach in team history after David Irving (2015-16), David Vaudreuil (2017-18) and Michael Nsien (2018-22).

SHUTOUT STREAK SNAPPED

Memphis’ opener in the 14′ minute officially ended FC Tulsa’s franchise-record shutout streak at 266 minutes. That mark broke the previous record by one minute, which was set back in 2017. Despite allowing two goals in the match, Wormell made seven saves to give the Tulsa native 22 saves over his last four starts.

SCORELESS STREAK EXTENDED

While the team’s shutout streak ended, its scoreless streak unfortunately did not. Wednesday’s loss was the third consecutive match the FC Tulsa offense was held without a goal. The last time that happened was June 2-16, 2018 when the Roughnecks were held without a goal.

UP NEXT

FC Tulsa will be back at ONEOK Field on Saturday night against Charleston Battery at 7:30 p.m. CT. The teams met in the season opener in Charleston in a match the Battery won 1-0 after FC Tulsa was shown a red card, which was later rescinded, early in the second half. Tickets to the match are still available at fctulsa.com/tickets.