Hartford Athletic came into ONEOK Field and took three valuable points away from FC Tulsa tonight, winning the match 2-1.
The Green and Blue began tonight’s match with great energy, creating a few scoring chances early on. Just two minutes in, Younes Boudadi and Joel Johnson executed an excellent give-and-go, leading to a doorstep opportunity for Boudadi, but his shot was smothered by Tulsa keeper Austin Wormell. Hartford would take three more shots over the next 15 minutes, and eventually found their first goal in the 20th minute. Luka Prpa lofted a quality ball from his own half into Tulsa’s third to Joel Johnson. The Liberian national had plenty of space and found Ariel Martínez across the Tulsa box, and the 36 year old drilled a perfect strike into the top left corner of the net, giving Hartford a 1-0 lead. Tulsa took eight more shots before the end of the half in their attempt to respond, but only one was on target. The Green and Blue lead would hold after the first 45 minutes.
Hartford Athletic remained steady at the start of the second half, limiting Tulsa’s opportunities early on. The home side owned 69% of possession through the first 15 minutes of the half, but had just one shot on target to show for it. It was in the 80th minute when the door opened for Tulsa after Modou Jadama was called for a handball in Hartford’s box, resulting in a penalty kick opportunity for the home side. Darío Suárez converted the penalty, as Hartford conceded a PK for the third straight match.
Right when it looked as if the air had been blown out of the balloon for Hartford, the visiting side responded relentlessly. In the 83rd minute, Ash Apollon crossed a ball into Tulsa’s box that was met by a well-struck header from Danny Barrera. Austin Wormell made a miraculous quick reaction save initially, but the rebound fell to second half substitute Juan Carlos Obregón Jr., who booted in the deciding goal for Hartford.
The Green and Blue had to survive the final seven minutes of attack from Tulsa, facing six shots. The game’s final play was a Tulsa corner kick at the 90:00+ 5′ mark, in which Tulsa nearly found their equalizer. Bradley Bourgeois headed a ball to his feet, took a shot that floated towards goal and past Yannik Oettl, but Tulu calmly kicked the shot away from the goal line with his right foot. A heroic blocked shot from the defenseman, who has been quite the bright spot for Hartford over the past few matches. The final whistle blew and Hartford Athletic had successfully taken three points from an FC Tulsa team who desperately needed them, entering the match just eight points out of the 7th seed and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Sweet victory for the Green and Blue, who now jump past Indy Eleven into the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Hartford Athletic are back in action next Wednesday, August 31st at the New York Red Bulls II at 7:00 PM.
Shots (On-Target): Tulsa 29 (4), Hartford 13 (6)
Corners: Tulsa 7 Hartford 3
Fouls: Tulsa 12 Hartford 14
Offsides: Tulsa 2 Hartford 1
Possession: Tulsa 56.5% Hartford 43.5%
Passing Accuracy: Tulsa 83.8% Hartford 77.2%
Saves: Hartford 2 Tulsa 4
20′ – Martínez (Johnson)
81′ – Suárez
83′ – Juan Carlos Obregón Jr
60′ – Noah Powder
HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP
13 (GK) Yannik Oettl, 3 (DF) Logan Gdula, 5 (DF) Tom Brewitt, 4 (DF) Tulu, 2 (DF)Younes Boudadi, 11 (MF) Luka Prpa (McGlynn, 58′); 10 (MF) Danny Barrera, 7 (FW) Prince Saydee (Apollon, 73′); 77 (MF) Andre Lewis (Jadama, 68′); 30 (DF) Joel Johnson (Dally, 58′); 6 (FW) Ariel Martínez (J. Obregón Jr, 73′)
FC TULSA LINEUP
31 (GK) Austin Wormell, 4 (DF) Ronald Rodríguez (J. Fenwick, 84′); 22 (DF) Bradley Bourgeois, 15 (DF) Adrián Diz, 17 (DF) Noah Powder, 11 (DF) Sean McFarlane (M. Ramírez, 7′); 30 (MF) Lebo Moloto ( M. Epps, 45′) 21 (MF) Kembo Kibato, 44 (MF) Eric Bird, 92 (FW) Darío Suárez, 10 (FW) Rodrigo da Costa (Gabi Torres, 84′)