TULSA, Okla. – A pair of goals in the final 11 minutes by Gordon Wild and Peter-Lee Vassell saw Indy Eleven take a 2-0 victory against FC Tulsa on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field and snap the club’s five-game winless streak.
Tulsa looked to find early success down the right flank and in the 12th minute it almost paid off as a cross by Marlon was redirected by Rodrigo da Costa inside the penalty area in the direction of Joaquin Rivas, but Indy defender Jared Timmer intervened to block the opportunity to safety. The El Salvador international threatened again a few minutes later as Cuban international Jorge Corrales delivered a sweeping cross from the left near the halfway line into the penalty area, but Rivas’ volleyed finish was saved by Indy goalkeeper Eric Dick.
Indy’s shot-stopper was kept busy in the early going as Rivas flicked a header on target off an angled ball into the penalty area by Da Costa less than a minute later, and Dick had to save again as Lebo Moloto fired a shot from 35 yards after the hosts had turned over possession quickly as the visitors tried to play out of the back.
The visitors couldn’t find many openings in the opening half, and its lone shot on goal came two minutes before the break as Jordan Hamilton fired a long-range shot that was easily saved by Tulsa’s Sean Lewis. Da Costa sent a header just over the crossbar just before the halftime whistle blew for the hosts, but Tulsa went even closer as Dario Suarez controlled inside the penalty area in the opening minute of the second half and rattled a shot off the outside of the left upright.
Tulsa threatened again a few minutes later as Marlon’s cross from the right found a late-arriving Moloto, who sent his finish just wide of the left post. Marlon then became the second Tulsa player to hit the woodwork on the night in the 66th minute as he rattled a shot off the near post from the right that caromed back into the penalty area but was cleared to safety by the visitors.
Reprieved, Indy began to come into the game later on and with 19 minutes to go might have taken the lead as Wild’s powerful shot from 25 yards was parried by Lewis and set up nicely for Patrick Seagrist on the rebound, only for his finish to go over the crossbar. Eight minute later, however, Wild put the visitors ahead as he broke onto a ball over the top by Neveal Hackshaw and finished from 12 yards out.
The Boys in Blue then grabbed a second with five minutes to go as Jeremiah Gutjahr sent a quick pass forward into the path of Vassell as he broke in behind the Tulsa defense, and the Jamaican forward got just enough on his lifted finish to the left corner past the advancing goalkeeper to carry it into the net despite the last-gasp effort of a Tulsa defender.
Tulsa almost got a late lifeline from new signing Jason Johnson, who fired a low shot from the right side of the penalty area that was saved by Dick in the final minute, but the visitors would see out the remaining minutes to earn a major boost to their postseason hopes.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Eric Dick, Indy Eleven – Dick kept Indy in the game with a five-save shutout before the side grabbed a pair of late goals to snap its five-game winless streak and return to the Central Division’s playoff places.
IND – Gordon Wild (Neveal Hackshaw) 79’
IND – Peter-Lee Vassell (Jeremiah Gutjahr) 85’