MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC overcame an early deficit as Kyle Murphy scored the winner with 15 minutes to go in a 3-2 victory against FC Tulsa on Wednesday night at AutoZone Park that ensured 901 FC will be the No. 3 seed in the USL Championship’s Central Division, sending Tulsa on the road to face the Atlantic Division title-winner Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs next week.
The hosts had an early chance in just the second minute when leading scorer Murphy pulled away to find space in the right side of the penalty area to receive a pass for a low shot that was saved by Tulsa’s Austin Wormell at the near post. Tulsa took the lead from the penalty spot in the eighth minute, however, when Jorge Corrales was brought down in the 18-yard-area to produce the opportunity. Marlon stepped up and fired into the left corner of the net in the eighth minute.
The Brazilian almost doubled the visitors’ lead minute later when he got on the end of a cross from the left by Joaquin Rivas but couldn’t direct his header on target. 901 FC then began to get back into the game and in wet conditions looked to test Wormell whenever possible. Dre Fortune fired a long-range effort toward the left corner in the 15th minute the goalkeeper punched away, while Laurent Kissiedou pulled a shot wide of the right post after he had navigated into the top-left edge of the penalty area a couple of minutes later.
Fortune pulled Memphis level in the 24th minute after Mark Segbers had chased down a pass into the right corner and quickly cut in along the goal line past his marker before finding Roland Lamah. The former Belgium international played a pass back to Fortune 12 yards out for a first-time shot that picked out the bottom-left corner of the net.
Kissiedou had another effort go just wide of the right post from 20 yards a couple of minutes later, but in the 33rd minute 901 FC hit the front when Dacres picked up possession on the right about 10 yards inside the Tulsa half. The full back drove past a first defender’s challenge and then took on another one-on-one near the top right corner of the penalty area before getting a step to his right and driving home a precise finish to the far post.
Memphis carved out another good chance nine minutes before halftime when a good piece of passing including Segbers, Dacres and Kissiedou set up Fortune for a close-range shot that was blocked wide of the right post by Wormell. Then five minutes into the second half, Leston Paul also went close for the hosts with a curling shot that went just over the top-right corner of the net before a transition move also saw 901 FC threaten when Alan Winn got into space on the left to receive a pass from Murphy, only for Wormell to come up with another big save.
After Wormell kept the side in the game, Tulsa pulled level with 16 minutes to go. Bradley Bourgeois began the play as he drove forward to the top of the penalty area and unleashed a shot that deflected off a defender and looped into the left post. The ball caromed out to Corrales in the left side of the penalty area, however, and his centering pass deflected off Memphis defender Niall Logue and into the net for an own goal.
Just a minute later Memphis regained the lead, though, when Segbers received a pass overlapping on the right flank and delivered a low cross into the six-yard area where Murphy was on hand to put home his 19th goal of the season at close range. That proved the difference for the hosts, as while Tulsa pushed last to try and level once again, 901 FC held form to ensure it will take third place in the Central Division as it heads to the postseason for the first time.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Mark Segbers, Memphis 901 FC - Segbers recorded a goal and assist and had three key passes on the night while completing 34 of 43 passes and making two interceptions.
TUL – Marlon (Penalty Kick) 8’
MEM – Dre Fortune (Roland Lamah) 24’
MEM – Mark Segbers (Kadeem Dacres) 33’
TUL – Niall Logue (Own Goal) 74’
MEM – Kyle Murphy (Mark Segbers) 75’