LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – In a battle between the top two teams in the Heartland Conference, Tulsa Athletic picked up a 2-1 victory at Little Rock Rangers on Saturday (June 8) at War Memorial Stadium.
Ranking first in the league going into the contest, Tulsa Athletic (4-0-2) increased their lead in the conference standings to five points with 14 points this season, while Little Rock Rangers, the 2018 Heartland Conference champion, stayed (3-3-0) at nine points in the 2019 campaign.
The green and yellow tallied the first two goals of the match to build a 2-0 advantage before Little Rock registered a late score for the final 2-1 margin.
Tulsa Athletic went up 1-0 in the 14th minute of the contest when Billy Nzojyibwami sent in a cross that snuck by four Little Rock defenders and to the back post where Gustavo Vargas headed in the goal for the early advantage, his first goal of the season after totaling a team-high six goals in the 2018 season.
Alex Harris doubled the Tulsa Athletic margin to 2-0 with a goal in the 62nd minute. Aboubakr Diallo played in a cross across the box where Harris tapped in the goal for his second tally of the season.
Little Rock Rangers had an opportunity to even the score before the second goal by Tulsa Athletic with a penalty kick chance. However, Tulsa Athletic goalkeeper Bryson Reed came up huge with a save on the penalty kick attempt and then cleared away a rebound opportunity to keep the score 1-0.
The host Rangers posted a goal late in the 83rd minute when Donald Benamna scored for the final 2-1 margin.
With the win, Tulsa Athletic increased their unbeaten streak to start the 2019 season to six straight contests as the green and yellow have four wins and two draws this campaign.
For the season, Tulsa Athletic swept Little Rock Rangers, 2-0, in the two-match series. Tulsa Athletic defeated Little Rock Rangers, 3-1, at Veterans Park in Tulsa on May 5 in the season opener for both teams. Tulsa Athletic moved to 7-2-1 all-time against Little Rock Rangers.
Tulsa Athletic continue their three-match road trip at Demize NPSL, who rank third in the conference standings, next Saturday, June 15 in Springfield, Missouri at Lake Country Soccer Cooper Stadium.
2019 NPSL Season
Little Rock 1 : 2 Tulsa
Saturday, June 8
Little Rock, Ark. – War Memorial Stadium
TUL: Gustavo Vargas 14’
TUL: Alex Harris 62’
LR: Donald Benamna 83’