Tulsa Athletic fans stormed the pitch as their beloved club pulled off what many are calling the biggest win in club history as they stunned FC Tulsa 1-0 Wednesday night in Round Two of the 2023 US Open Cup.
Tulsa Athletic head coach Jason Rogers was stunned. The last time these two teams met, FC Tulsa won 2-1 at ONEOK Field last year.
“We talked about this the other day, but you know, when you watch the FA Cup in England and you see those 4th and 5th tier guys or teams,” Rogers said. “You don’t think it’s ever going to happen to you or your group.”
It was a slow start to the game like two boxers feeling each other out before throwing haymakers. The first punch thrown was by Tulsa Athletic in the 18th minute as forward Aaron Ugbah took the first shot on goal after getting past the backline of FC Tulsa. FC Tulsa keeper Austin Wormell made the save, but this was just the beginning.
The two sides went back and forth, blow-for-blow counter-attacking. Athletic launched the ball through the air, into the box and Ugbah went wide of the left post, missing the back of the net by inches.
FC Tulsa put on the pressure in the 27th minute, Forward Siad Haji put a corner into the box, but Athletic keeper Bryson Reed made a fantastic save.
FC Tulsa put on a quick counterattack, Nate Worth received a pass from Luca Sowinski, and Worth floated the ball into the box for Watz Leazard, who took two shots on goal before going down with an injury after being fouled.
Athletic had back-to-back corners and was trying to put together a run to the box, Leazard fouled and received a yellow, allowing Athletic to get a free kick, which they failed to convert.
Ugbah once again made a terrific run down the right side, but missed in the 44th minute, resulting in a goal kick.
Mitchell Cashion took an incredible shot outside the box and Wormell made an equally incredible save, the Athletic were awarded a corner with two minutes of stoppage time.
FC Tulsa was driving down the pitch, but their run was cut short after Leazard was hit with a hard tackle. He did return to the game, however.
The scoring opened up after Aimar Membrila was given a yellow card for something said to the referee and Roman Torres received a free kick about 25 yards out.
The knockout blow came when Torres floated the ball into the box and K.B. Harris opened the scoring, giving Tulsa Athletic the lead in the 63rd minute on a terrific header near the back post.
“Man, we actually had a plan at halftime to play that ball back post on the first set piece,” Harris said. “It ended up working out, I was open, had to call one of my guys off, but it ended up going in so we’ll take it, man, we’ll take it.”
In the final 15 minutes, FC Tulsa ramped up the attacking play, subbing on Moses Dyer, Blaine Ferri, and Milo Yosef.
Torres shot on goal, but Wormell made a fantastic save in the 82nd minute. From there FC Tulsa continued to put pressure on, but it was too little too late as Tulsa Athletic left Hicks Park with the win.