Enoch Mushagalusa scored twice but Louisville City FC left Oklahoma with a frustrating point, drawing FC Tulsa, 2-2, at ONEOK Field on Wednesday night.
The frenetic game featured several swings of momentum, with Tulsa scoring first in the 11th minute and LouCity drawing level in the 35th after a flourish of near-misses. City took the lead in the 73rd minute, but Tulsa grabbed an 84th-minute equalizer to salvage a point at home and keep its playoff hopes alive.
“Obviously (we’re) really frustrated,” LouCity coach Danny Cruz said. “This is certainly a difficult stretch of games – four on the road, five total in 15 days is not easy. We’re carrying a lot of knocks at the moment. We have to turn it around tomorrow, get our legs right, fly to Pittsburgh and respond this weekend.”
LouCity (18-5-5, 59 points) maintained its four-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings in the USL Championship, though Memphis 901 climbed into second ahead of Tampa Bay Rowdies with a win over Atlanta United 2 on Wednesday night.
The boys in purple started slow, with Cruz calling the opening half-hour the worst stretch his team has played this season. Tulsa capitalized, with its first goal coming through Rodrigo da Costa, who slotted home a neat 15-yard shot from a well-placed through-ball by Eric Bird. The home team nearly nabbed a second in the ensuing minutes, too.
But City started to respond in waves around the 30th minute.
Mushagalusa’s 22-yard attempt fizzed just over the crossbar on the half-hour mark. Two minutes later, striker Wilson Harris nearly trickled a shot in underneath Tulsa goalkeeper Austin Wormell, and the chaos that erupted in the scramble to corral loose ball led to Elijah Wynder’s hard-hit, on-target attempt being blocked with a last-ditch slide from a Tulsa defender inside the 6-yard box.
Mushagalusa’s breakthrough came via an Oscar Jimenez corner. Jimenez’s initial ball was knocked down by Wynder into Mushagalusa’s path, and the 22-year-old turned and knocked his shot in.
“We just talked about getting into the box,” Mushagalusa said. “(Cruz) always mentions to me about getting in there. We had a great scout and I knew our opponent’s weaknesses, so I think that’s what made a big difference, the coaching staff giving us the information we need to prepare for the game.”
Corben Bone’s interception in the 73rd minute livened up a cagey second half, with the veteran midfielder playing a ball through Tulsa’s defense into Mushagalusa’s path. He collected the ball just outside Tulsa’s box and scored on the quick counterattack.
Tulsa equalized in the 84th minute from an Adrian Diz header off a corner, a goal that frustrated Cruz.
The coach said he and the team “talk a ton about not taking one moment for granted, and we switched off and they tied the game.”
“We’re beat up at the moment – guys are feeling tired legs and I have to rotate the roster and make sure we don’t pick up injuries,” Cruz said. “It’s been a difficult stretch, but it’s no excuse. We have the quality on the team to get these results.”
Game Summary: Louisville City FC vs. FC Tulsa
Date: September 7, 2022
Venue: ONEOK Field
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy
Player of the Match: Enoch Mushagalusa
Louisville City FC (1, 1, 2)
FC Tulsa (1, 1, 2)
Louisville City FC:
35’ Enoch Mushagalusa
73’ Enoch Mushagalusa (Corben Bone)
11’ Rodrigo da Costa (Eric Bird)
84’ Adrian Diz (Sean McFarlane)
Louisville City FC (4-3-3): 1 – Kyle Morton, 15 – Manny Perez, 32 – Ian Soler (46’ 6 – Wes Charpie), 4 – Sean Totsch, 19 – Oscar Jimenez (67’ 3 – Amadou Dia); 12 – Tyler Gibson, 13 – Corben Bone, 23 – Elijah Wynder (46’ 36 – Paolo DelPiccolo); 7 – Napo Matsoso (46’ 10 – Brian Ownby), 14 – Wilson Harris, 77 – Enoch Mushagalusa (76’ 21- Ray Serrano)
Subs not used: 18 – Danny Faundez; 8 – Carlos Moguel Jr.
Head Coach: Danny Cruz
FC Tulsa: 31 – Austin Wormell; 66 – Noah Powder, 22 – Bradley Bourgeois (c), 15 – Adrian Diz, 11 – Sean McFarlane; 44 – Eric Bird (76’ 88 – Christopher Pearson), 21 – Kembo Kibato; 23 – Marlon Ramirez (56’ 16 – Gabi Torres), 10 – Rodrigo da Costa, 7 – Marcus Epps (71’ 30 – Lebo Moloto); 92 – Dario Suarez
Subs not used: 25 – Dallas Odle, 5 – Johnny Fenwick, 14 – Luca Sowinski, 17 – Abuchi Obinwa
Head Coach: Donovan Ricketts
Stats Summary: Louisville City FC / FC Tulsa
Shots: 14 / 14
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Possession: 51.6% / 48.4%
Fouls: 13 / 8
Offside: 8 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 6
Louisville City FC:
88’ Sean Totsch (yellow)
88’ Amadou Dia (yellow)
Referee: Sergii Demianchuk