The Sensational Suárez Delivers FC Tulsa Late in Front of the Home Fans
TULSA – Super Darío strikes again. The Cuban dynamo scored his first goal of the season in the 77′ minute, leading FC Tulsa to a 1-0 victory over previously-unbeaten San Diego Loyal SC on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field.
No one has more goals for FC Tulsa over the last three seasons than Suárez, who bagged his 19th goal in a Tulsa kit – five of which have been match-winners like tonight.
On a cold night in Tulsa, chances were hard to come by, as both Tulsa and San Diego totaled more yellow cards (six) than shots on target (five). Much of the match was played in the midfield as the teams spent much of the first 45 minutes feeling the other side out.
The best chance in the first half came inside the opening four minutes when San Diego’s Evan Conway squared up a shot that was deftly handled by Tulsa keeper Sean Lewis, who registered his first clean sheet of the season. Over the 90 minutes, Lewis made two saves, while his backline blocked another three San Diego attempts.
After halftime, the teams continued probing, but neither could find a solid look before Gabi Torres’s deep cross. The Brazilian left back sent a ball into the box towards Suárez and second-half Tulsa substitute JJ Williams who were guarded by two San Diego defenders. While JJ took on the Loyal backline, Suárez slipped back and miraculously managed to get a foot on the cross. The ball just ricocheted off the post and into the net, sending the cold, but rowdy crowd into a frenzy.
After the goal, head coach Michael Nsien made several substitutions to fortify the backline and Tulsa’s defense hung on for the final 13 minutes plus stoppage time to seal the three points. It was the fourth consecutive home victory for FC Tulsa dating back to the final two matches of the 2021 season.
Here are three takeaways from tonights match.
1) MAGIC AT ONEOK FIELD
Add another late goal to FC Tulsa’s tally at home. Since the start of 2020, FC Tulsa has scored 15 goals at home in the 75′ minute or later. That’s more than 20% of FC Tulsa’s total goals scored over that stretch, home and road, coming in the final 15 minutes of matches at ONEOK.
2) SUÁREZ KEEPS SCORING
Suárez’s 19 goals since he arrived in Tulsa prior to the 2020 season are the most for any player in a FC Tulsa kit. He currently ranks fourth all-time in Tulsa goals behind teammates Rodrigo da Costa (25), Joaquín Rivas (25) and former Roughneck Sammy Ochoa (20). If he stays healthy, Suárez is sure to enter the top three sooner rather than later.
3) CLEAN SHEET SEAN
Sean Lewis has quickly found his form to start the 2022 season. After an injury-filled 2021, Lewis is healthy and has been one of FC Tulsa’s best players, making seven saves over the last two matches. Lewis has allowed only two goals through three matches.
FC Tulsa hits the road next weekend to California as Tulsa will take on Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday afternoon. It will be the first time since the 2020 season opener (the final match before the COVID-19 pandemic) when the teams drew 1-1. Kickoff on Sunday will be at 4 p.m. CT.