TULSA – Friday morning Tulsa Roughnecks FC announced its first player signing of 2020, forward Marlon dos Santos Prazeres, known simply as “Marlon.” No player may have been more important for Tulsa in 2019 than Marlon, despite playing in just nine of the 34 regular season matches for Roughnecks FC.
When Marlon arrived in late August, things were bleak for Tulsa. The club was mired in a 16-match winless skid in which it had gone from playoff position to the bottom of the USL Championship Western Conference. Its last win had come on April 24, and fans had seen four calendar months go by without a victory.
In stepped Marlon on August 28 for a home match against Las Vegas Lights FC. He made his presence known in the 1-1 draw by assisting on the equalizing goal in the 70’ minute. Just three days later against playoff-bound Fresno FC, Marlon showed out, first assisting on Rodrigo da Costa’s opening goal and then scoring the match-winner himself early in the second half.
It was Tulsa’s first win in more than four months, and it was a preview of what the next nine matches would look like for Tulsa Roughnecks FC with Marlon. The Brazilian forward started in nine of the season's last 10 matches, having to sit in the season finale with a red card suspension.
Those nine matches amounted to five goals and three assists. The numbers are eye-popping. More importantly though, Marlon jumpstarted Roughnecks FC. After going 0-10-6 in the previous 16 matches before Marlon’s arrival, Tulsa went 4-2-3 in his nine matches and secured wins over previously mentioned Fresno and expansion darling New Mexico United, another USL Championship playoff club.
While Tulsa missed the playoffs in 2019, Marlon, now under a multiyear contract with Tulsa Roughnecks FC, provided hope for the future. In the press release announcing his re-signing, Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien hinted at a breakout year coming for the young Brazilian, especially with more incoming top talent around him leading the Tulsa attack.
Marlon will also have a full offseason and runway to get ready. In 2019, he jumped into the middle of season and immediately produced. Now, he will get a critical preseason and full 34-match season to showcase his incredible talent on the pitch.