Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
SAN ANTONIO – A second half goal from FC Tulsa midfielder Petar Čuić earned the visitors a 1-0 preseason victory at San Antonio FC at Toyota Field on Saturday afternoon. Čuić became the fourth different player to score for Tulsa this preseason as his long-range goal in the 63rd minute proved the difference.
Tulsa opened the game on the front foot and went close twice early on as Brian Brown headed just over the crossbar and Gabriel Torres shot wide. The hosts gradually worked their way into the contest and applied pressure in the final 10 minutes of the first half that resulted in several dangerous chances off set pieces. Tulsa goalkeeper Sean Lewis and his backline withstood those tests as the teams went into the locker rooms with the match scoreless.
Tulsa forward JJ Williams made his preseason debut late in the opening 45 minutes, coming in for Brown after he suffered a slight knock late in the first half. Williams himself had suffered an early preseason injury and missed the first two matches of preseason but got nearly 50 minutes of action as he worked towards regular season fitness.
The second half started much like the first ended, with San Antonio putting pressure on the Tulsa defense. Again, Lewis and his backline were up to the task, and that defense turned to offense midway through the second half. Just past the hour-mark, Čuić gave FC Tulsa its first lead of the preseason when his low driven shot from outside the penalty area found the left side of the goal. Čuić joined Brown, Suárez and Josue Flores on the preseason scoresheet so far for Tulsa.
With about 20 minutes to go, both sides made wholesale changes as younger and USL Academy signings came in, including nine players from San Antonio FC’s Academy. Tulsa left winger Machuca and left back Jesus Hernandez in particular caused problems for the San Antonio defense down the left side in the later stretches of the match as Tulsa held the momentum following its goal.
Tulsa substitute keeper Austin Wormell saw out the clean sheet for FC Tulsa as the visitors secured the road victory in front of a vocal San Antonio home crowd.