LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dario Suarez scored the only goal of the game as FC Tulsa produced a stalwart defensive performance to take a 1-0 victory against Louisville City FC before 10,206 fans at Lynn Family Stadium on Friday night to claim its second win of the season against the Central Division leaders and a fourth consecutive win on its current streak.
Louisville opened the game aggressively and went close to opening the scoring within 90 seconds as Brian Ownby delivered a cross from the right that found Paolo DelPiccolo for a first-time finish that went wide of the near post. The hosts went close again in the 10th minute as Tyler Gibson moved out of pressure nicely 25 yards from goal and fired wide of the right post, but that proved the theme of the first half as Louisville racked up 10 shots but was unable to find the target.
Tulsa, instead, took the lead in the 20th minute when Eric Bird lifted a ball into the right channel from the halfway line for Matt Sheldon, who read the bounce nicely to control and then played inside for Suarez. The Cuban forward controlled and fired a right-footed shot that clipped a defender on its way to picking out the bottom-left corner of the net for Suarez’s sixth goal of the season. The visitors also had a chance to double their lead 11 minutes before halftime as a free kick by Lebo Moloto was headed over the crossbar by Rodrigo da Costa.
The hosts made changes at the break, including the introduction of Antoine Hoppenot, who five minutes into the second half lifted a ball into the penalty area for Ownby to shoot from a narrow angle on the left that was saved by Tulsa’s Sean Lewis. LouCity continued to press their visitors and just past the hour-mark almost found an equalizer as after a corner kick was cleared, Niall McCabe delivered a beautiful cross from the right on an angle that found DelPiccolo for a looping header to the right side that Lewis just tipped over the crossbar.
Tulsa also had chances on the break and Moloto went close to doubling his side’s lead in the 65th minute with a powerful shot to the right corner that LouCity goalkeeper Parker Siegfried parried wide. Louisville continued to dominate possession, though, and with nine minutes to go a cross from the left by George Davis IV found Alexis Souahy for a downward header that Lewis scooped up and held.
The hosts continued to press and as the game moved into stoppage time a low cross by Ownby from the right to the near post for Kyle Greig was smuggled behind for a corner kick. Then in the fourth minute of stoppage time the opportunity almost arrived for LouCity to level as McCabe’s angled free kick from the right was half-cleared to Hoppenot, who controlled at the top-left edge of the penalty area and quickly shot to the right corner, only for Lewis to get across to save. That proved the final chance as Tulsa held on to even the regular season series between the sides and further bolster its playoff credentials.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Matt Sheldon, FC Tulsa – Sheldon provided the assist on Dario Suarez’s goal and was strong on the back line, winning 9 of 13 duels and 3 of 4 aerial duels while also completing 23 of 28 passes overall.
TUL – Dario Suarez (Matt Sheldon) 20’