It was an Offensive Surge for FC Tulsa in its 2022 Home Opener
TULSA – In front of one of the biggest crowds of the new era of the franchise, FC Tulsa put on a show.
Two stoppage time goals for Tulsa, a go-ahead penalty kick just before halftime and a breakaway clincher before the final whistle sounded gave more than 4,500 fans a 3-1 home-opening victory over Birmingham Legion FC at ONEOK Field on Saturday night.
When second-half substitute Machuca scored on an empty net in the sixth minute of second half stoppage time, ONEOK Field peaked at pandemonium as FC Tulsa players leapt into the waiting arms of the crowd.
An opening volley in the 11′ minute from Rodrigo da Costa opened the scoring for FC Tulsa as the Brazilian tallied the first goal of the 2022 season for the club. While Birmingham Legion equalized in the 41′ minute, FC Tulsa went back ahead with the final kick of the first half.
A shove by Legion FC keeper Matt Van Oekel on da Costa was an easy penalty call past the 45′ minute, and Joaquín Rivas stepped up to the spot, burying his PK in the side netting past Van Oekel’s outstretched arms giving FC Tulsa the 2-1 advantage.
The match hung in the balance as FC Tulsa preserved its one-goal throughout the second half, until Machuca’s breakaway sealed the three points for FC Tulsa, setting off fireworks throughout ONEOK Field.
While the goals will generate the headlines, the star for FC Tulsa was goalkeeper Sean Lewis, who made five crucial saves in the victory. Finally healthy after playing all of 2021 injured, Lewis repeatedly denied Birmingham on the doorstep in the second half to keep FC Tulsa in the lead.He ran away with FC Tulsa’s Man of the Match, garnering 69% of the fan vote.
HUGE CROWD AT ONEOK
The second largest crowd at ONEOK Field in the FC Tulsa-era of the franchise (and largest against an out-of-state opponent) saw three goals, three points and the first win of 2022 for FC Tulsa. It’s the largest season-opening crowd at ONEOK Field for FC Tulsa since 2018.
SEAN SAVES FOR DAYS
When healthy, Sean Lewis has been one of the best goalkeepers in the USL Championship. Look no further than 2020 when he was named FC Tulsa’s MVP. That season he eclipsed four saves in a match on seven different occasions. Playing injured in 2021, Lewis accomplished the feat just once, in FC Tulsa’s 2-1 win at Birmingham on August 22. Healthy again, Lewis was back in top form with five saves on Saturday night.
MACHUCA CRUSHES IT
Standing at just 5’4″, no one brings more energy than FC Tulsa’s newest winger, Machuca. That showcased itself in stoppage time when the Honduran forward clinched the match with a breakaway goal in his home debut. The last FC Tulsa player to score in his debut at ONEOK was another Honduran, Cristian Altamirano, who scored in the season opener of 2019.
FC Tulsa stays at home for a quick turnaround against Western Conference opponent San Diego Loyal SC on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field. Tulsa and San Diego, managed by U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan, will meet for the first time on the pitch.
It will be Youth Soccer Night, where local youth soccer players will be able to get a free ticket to the game with a paid adult ticket. To take advantage of the youth soccer deal, email email@example.com or call a ticket rep at (918) 297-6808.