TULSA – While a see-saw 2-2 draw for FC Tulsa against Austin Bold FC was enough to set the franchise’s record for longest unbeaten run, the result will feel like a loss for Tulsa after allowing a tying goal by Austin late in each half.
In its second home match of 2020 in as many weeks, FC Tulsa was buoyed by a socially-distant near-capacity crowd at ONEOK Field on Wednesday night and returned the favor with the first goal at home in the new era of the franchise as midfielder Lebo Moloto hit a 20-yard screamer into the right side of the net to open the scoring. Darío Suárez notched the assist to put him on the scoresheet for the first time in the evening.
Just before halftime, Austin hit back with an equalizer off a set piece from Fabien Garcia.
It was all FC Tulsa to start the second half however, and the pressure paid off as forward Darío Suárez volleyed a Bradley Bourgeois header into the goal to give the home side it’s lead back. It was the second goal of the season for Suárez to tie him for the team lead.
Unfortunately for Tulsa, it was Austin who had the last laugh as an apparent offside was not given and Sean MacFarlane capitalized on the chance to put one past Tulsa keeper Sean Lewis.
Some late corner kicks weren’t enough as Tulsa had to settle for a point.
Attached are final stats and postmatch quotes from head coach Michael Nsien, and quotes from the two goalscorers, Lebo Moloto and Darío Suárez.
LONGEST UNBEATEN STREAK IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
Six matches down, and still no losses on the books for FC Tulsa. The unbeaten club ran its unbeaten streak to six to start the 2020 season, which is the longest unbeaten run in USL Championship franchise history.
MAINTAINING PLAYOFF POSITION
While the draw will leave a sour taste in the mouth of FC Tulsa fans, no harm was done to Tulsa in the standings as it maintained its two point advantage over Austin. The point gives Tulsa 10 on the season to stay in second place in Group D. San Antonio FC kept a stranglehold on the group with a 4-0 win over OKC Energy FC to go eight points clear of Tulsa. The full standings can be found here.
GOAL-OTO DELIVERS A FIRST
The first ONEOK Field goal in FC Tulsa history belongs to midfielder Lebo Moloto. The South African magician in the midfield hit a strike around Austin keeper Diego Restrepo to give FC Tulsa its first-ever home goal. It was also the first for Moloto in FC Tulsa colors. He has one goal and one assist on the season.
SHUTOUT STREAK ENDS
Keeper Sean Lewis and FC Tulsa allowed a goal in stoppage time of the first half to end a long shutout streak. The streak ended at 245 minutes for the FC Tulsa defense. The two goals allowed on Wednesday night are the most in any of the club's six matches this season.
BOURGEOIS ADDS A LITTLE OFFENSE
Vice-Captain Bradley Bourgeois is known best for his solid and athletic defense on the FC Tulsa backline, but he came up big offensively with an assist on FC Tulsa's second goal. Bourgeois headed a pass from Vangjel Zguro to Suárez to get on the scoresheet.
FC Tulsa heads back on the road for a Saturday night date with group leaders San Antonio FC. It will be a pivotal match for Tulsa as three points could go a long way to clawing back into a race for first place. Regardless, a result will be necessary to maintain its playoff position as Austin Bold FC will take on Rio Grande Valley FC at the bottom of Group D.