Photo courtesy Memphis 901 FC
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A sellout crowd of 8,957 fans welcomed Memphis 901 FC to the Bluff City on Saturday night as the club celebrated the official unveiling of its name, crest and colors with an exhibition clash between the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and Tulsa Roughnecks FC of the USL at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis.
In an entertaining contest for the festive crowd on hand the Rapids claimed a 3-2 victory as Niki Jackson scored a hat trick to lead Colorado to victory, capping off “901 Day” in style for the 2019 USL expansion club as it continues to build toward its inaugural season next spring.
The Roughnecks twice took the lead in the first half, opening the scoring in the 14th minute when Josh Morton put home a finish from a corner kick. It took less than a minute for Jackson to score the first of his three goals on the night, however, as he scored on the rebound after his initial effort had been saved by Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda.
Tulsa regained the lead through El Salvador international Joaquin Rivas in the 26th minute as the club’s leading scorer this season in the league with nine goals curled a free kick past Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard.
That proved the final lead of the game for the Roughnecks on the night, however, as Jackson leveled the game again on the half-hour mark with his second goal of the night. The 23-year-old rookie then scored inside a minute of the second-half kickoff to put the Rapids ahead.
The Roughnecks looked to get back on even terms during the second half as Eti Tavares sent a shot high of the crossbar in the 53rd minute, but despite Tulsa having a pair of late chances to level the Rapids held firm to claim a victory in professional soccer’s arrival in Memphis.
A big thank you to @Memphis901FC and the city of Memphis for being great hosts for the past two days. We look forward to our matchups in @USL play. And thanks to @ColoradoRapids for a great game and a fun night. Good luck the rest of the season!— Tulsa Roughnecks FC (@RoughnecksFC) September 2, 2018