Tulsa Athletic began their 2017 NPSL homestead with a bang last night, defeating conference rookies Ozark FC 9-1.  This marks a new record for most goals scored by Tulsa in a home game.

“Really solid effort in every aspect of the game,” said assistant coach Brian McCurdy.  “I liked how focused we were from start to finish.  Everything we have been practicing the boys put together in this performance.”

Tulsa opened the scoring fairly early again.  In the 11th minute, midfielder Joe Garcia collected a loose ball from a corner kick and hit a low shot on goal that took a fortuitous deflection into the back of the net.  After another ten minutes, veteran forward Levi Coleman scored twice in the span of three minutes.  The first came from a well-struck volley inside the box to beat Ozark keeper Adam Holt.  Shortly after, forward Tarik Salkicic was in on goal and chipped Holt.  An Ozark defender was there but botched the clearance and Coleman beat his man to head the ball home.

Ozark grabbed one goal back in the 32nd minute when Matheus Alves was left open on a corner kick and nodded the ball in.  This would be one of four shots on goal for the visiting side.

While it looked like the Arkansas side would begin to mount a comeback, Joe Garcia would seal the game in stoppage time before the halftime whistle.  Levi Coleman found space on the right side of the box and curled in a cross to a wide open Garcia.  Scoring probably the Goal of the Year, Garcia smashed in a bicycle kick before celebrating with the Armory.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first ended.  After two minutes of play, forward Tarik Salkicic rose up to head in a Santiago Riveros free kick, before the Armory was even ready to celebrate another goal.  Ten minutes later, Salkicic again found the net.  This time it was substitute Declan Fitzpatrick who won a loose ball in Tulsa’s defensive half and played a first time ball in to Salkicic, beating both Ozark defenders.  Tarik struck the ball first time from 40 yards out to chip Holt and grab his second goal of the night.

Two minutes later, Santiago Riveros would add to the lead.  Levi Coleman was brought down from 25 yards out and before Ozark could get set up, he played a quick pass to Munashe Raranje.

Raranje beat his man down the line and laid a ball across the goal for Riveros to tap in.  Four minutes later, forward substitute Rashad Jules flicked on a long ball to Dave Leung.  Leung hit a pass first time for Riveros to run onto and slotted an open shot past Holt.  The final goal of the night came in the 81st minute when Leung collected a ball at midfield and hit a brilliant 40-yard pass to split a pair of Ozark defenders.  Jules sped past the back line and beat the keeper to tap in the ninth goal for Tulsa.

Athletic will host their first exhibition match of the summer this Wednesday when the OKC Fighting Imps come to LaFortune Stadium.  Gates open at 6:30 pm and tickets are $10 online or at the gate.  NPSL play resumes on Friday when Tulsa travels to Branson, Missouri to take on Demize NPSL at 7:30 pm.

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