KANSAS CITY – FC Tulsa scored a match-winning goal against Sporting Kansas City II in the final 20 minutes on Friday night and then...it didn’t.
A collision outside the box from Darío Suárez and SKC II keeper John Pulskamp resulted in what would have been a winner for Marlon Santos, but after nearly five minutes of discussion, the referees decided to wipe the goal off the board and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
While it will go down as a result on the road, it will be a missed opportunity for FC Tulsa, who thought it had all three points prior to the controversial call. On the play in question, Pulskamp came outside the box and collided with an on-rushing Suárez. The ball fell to Marlon who slotted it in the empty net.
The collision resulted in injuries to both Suárez and Pulskamp, and while trainers were out on the pitch, the referee crew got together to talk through the goal, which was initially awarded. With no instant replay access, a decision was made after a lengthy discussion to reverse the call.
Ultimately, that decision cost FC Tulsa a victory against the last place side in the Central Division.
It was a bright start for Tulsa as Suárez himself got the scoring started for FC Tulsa with another clutch penalty inside the opening 10 minutes. His strike mate Marlon won the penalty, taking a foul just inside the box. After the goal, it was the Tulsa defense’s turn to show out. Absorbing Sporting KC II pressure for much of the rest of the half, FC Tulsa and keeper Austin Wormell kept the hosts from finding an equalizer, turning away six corners and all six of the SKC II shots.
It was Sporting KC II who found the equalizer in the second half as Kayden Pierre deflected a shot off the legs of Tulsa defender Mo Jadama and snuck the ball inside the far post, just outside the reach of Wormell.
The draw puts FC Tulsa five points behind Birmingham Legion FC for second place in the Central and significantly lessens the likelihood of a home playoff match. FC Tulsa will now need plenty of help from Birmingham Legion FC’s opponents down the stretch of the season, and not trip up again themselves, to leap into a top two spot.
8′ TUL - Darío Suárez (penalty)
65′ SKC - Kayden Pierre
SPOT TO TOP Darío Suárez has had ice in his veins from the penalty spot in 2021. To open the scoring in the match, Suárez converted his fourth penalty of the year to give the Cuban nine goals this season. That total leads FC Tulsa as it moves him above Rodrigo da Costa for the team lead. Suárez is perfect on pens, going 4 for 4 from the spot this season.
FLANAGAN MAKES DEBUT
In the 69′ minute, defender Avionne Flanagan subbed into the match for Jorge Corrales, making his FC Tulsa debut after being loaned from FC Cincinnati to Tulsa. Flanagan recorded two blocks in his limited minutes.
STRUGGLES AGAINST MLS 2 ON THE ROAD
If FC Tulsa is unable to find its way to the top two, it will have to look no further than the four road matches against Atlanta United 2 and Sporting Kansas City II. Against the two MLS 2 sides in the Central Division, FC Tulsa earned just one total point, the one from the draw tonight. Meanwhile, Louisville City FC has earned six road points out of nine against the two sides (with still a match left to play) while Birmingham has earned all nine in its three road matches against MLS 2 teams so far.
CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS UPDATE
Team Matches Played Record (W-L-D) Points
Louisville City FC 24 14-5-5 47
Birmingham Legion FC 25 13-7-5 44
FC Tulsa 25 12-10-3 39
OKC Energy FC 25 7-8-10 31
Memphis 901 FC 23 8-8-7 31
Atlanta United 2 26 7-11-8 29
Indy Eleven 25 8-12-5 29
Sporting KC II 25 4-14-7 19
FC Tulsa is back at home for a two-match homestand starting next Saturday, October 2 as FC Tulsa hosts Memphis 901 FC, followed by an October 9 home match against El Paso Locomotive FC. Both matches will kickoff at 7 p.m. CT.
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