TULSA, Okla. – A late penalty kick by Dario Suarez earned FC Tulsa a fifth consecutive victory as it downed Indy Eleven 2-1 on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field after the sides had exchanged goals in the first half, pulling Tulsa within two points of second-placed Birmingham Legion FC in the USL Championship’s Central Division standings with 10 games to go for both clubs in the regular season.
Looking to build on their excellent recent form, Tulsa got out to an ideal start in the ninth minute as the hosts worked possession to Jason Johnson in the right side of the penalty area. The Jamaican forward delivered a low cross which Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr got a hand to, but parried in the direction of Marlon, who roofed a finish for his seventh goal of the season.
The Brazilian forward almost set up a second for the hosts two minutes later as he held up play inside the penalty area before laying a pass back to fellow countryman Rodrigo da Costa as he arrived at the top of the penalty area for a first-time chipped finish that went just over the top-right corner of the net.
Marlon then went close to a second in the 21st minute himself as an angled cross from the right was flicked on in the center of the penalty area by Suarez, but the winger wasn’t able to steer his narrow-angle shot on target. After more pressure from the hosts that saw a couple of half-chances for Lebo Moloto and Suarez, however, Indy pulled the game level as after an angled ball into the penalty area caromed off a pair of defenders it fell to Manuel Arteaga, who fired home into the left side of the net from 12 yards.
The visitors had a chance to take the lead 10 minutes into the second half as Nicky Law delivered a precise cross from the left that picked out Rece Buckmaster for a volleyed finish that was blocked by Tulsa’s Bradley Bourgeois, while Law himself was denied by a sliding block by Jorge Corrales with 20 minutes to go. The hosts also had an effort turned away as Johnson created space in the left side of the penalty area for a low effort that was kicked away by Farr a minute later before Moloto shot over the crossbar from/ the top of the penalty area with 15 minutes remaining.
Indy went close again with 10 minutes to go as Arteaga ran into a pair of defenders at the top of the penalty area only for the ball to carom to Law inside the box, where he sent a low shot to the right corner that Tulsa goalkeeper Austin Wormell got down well to save. Law then set up Gordon Wild with a cut-back cross from the left side of the penalty area for a low shot that Wormell also kept out four minutes later, but with a minute to go Tulsa’s Lucas Coutinho drove toward the penalty area for the hosts and was brought down just inside the box, earning his side a penalty kick. Suarez stepped up and fired down the center of the goal as Farr went to the left to put Tulsa ahead, and from there the hosts saw out stoppage time to continue their drive toward a top-two finish in the Central Division.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Dario Suarez, FC Tulsa – Suarez kept his cool from the spot to lift the hosts to victory and was active throughout the 90 minutes, recording six shots and one key pass while completing 29 of 34 passes and 3 of 3 dribbles.
TUL – Marlon 9’
IND – Manuel Arteaga 34’
TUL – Dario Suarez (Penalty Kick) 89’