The Tulsa Athletic U20’s completed the biggest comeback in club history on Sunday, overturning a 3-1 deficit in the 75th minute to cross the finish line 4-3 winners.
Tyler FC opened the scoring against the run of play when the Kings danger man Javier Leonor pounced on an ill-advised pass along the back line. He side stepped 20’s goalkeeper Cole Sandberg and coolly slotted home to give the away side an early lead in just the 6th minute. The home side seemed a bit shell shocked but slowly fought their way back into the game. In the 18th minute, the first half bright spot for TA20, Gabe Ontiveros pressured the Tyler FC back line and the resulting deflection put debutante Keith Peterson in on goal. Peterson kept his nerve and knotted the score at 1-1. Eight minutes later Tyler FC attacker Karl Pierre drew the visitors a penalty when Kane Jeffus’s challenge was ruled to have been mistimed. Ivan Jakovljevic stepped up and restored Tyler’s one goal advantage.
Halftime 1-2 Tyler FC Kings.
The second half saw wholesale changes from coach Levi Coleman. “We wanted it to be known that the players who are at training and are working hard will get chances. That’s what the first half was about. This team is about development over winning. The first half may not have been our absolute strongest possible side, but in my opinion it was our most deserving side” said Coleman.
Twenty minutes into the second stanza Jakovljevic doubled the TA20 deficit and doubled his personal tally as the Kings took a 3-1 lead. The response from Athletic was not immediate. The sense of urgency however, did start to build and the pressure on the opposition was rewarded in the 75th minute. RT Torres saw his venomous first time strike carom off of the post to the fortuitous feet of in-form marksman Fernando Saldana. Saldana calmly trapped the ball and fired past a frozen Abarca into side netting for his third goal of the season. From that point on TA20 smelled blood in the water. Juarez and Bratcher both went close with chances, but it was that young man Saldana again who equalized in the 86th minute. Jack Bratcher beat Abarca to the ball wide and found his high school teammate Saldana for his fourth of the season and knotted the score at 3-3. The young 20’s continued to pile on the pressure late and got the ultimate reward in the 91st minute. The Jeffus family probably had plenty to talk about on the ride home after Kane’s cross found the head of brother Luke to cap off the largest and latest comeback in Tulsa Athletic club history. A wild day, a wild result, and another three points deposited into the account of Tulsa Athletic U20.
The 4-3 victory sees Tulsa six points clear at the top of the Red River table with their three closest rivals on three points, but with a game in hand. The boys have a week off before traveling to Dallas to face old first team rivals Dallas City FC on the 13th.
TFC- 6′ Leonor (unassisted)
TA20- 18′ Peterson (Ontiveros)
TFC- 26′ Jakovljevic (PK)
TFC- 66′ Jakovljevic (Leonor)
TA20- 75′ Saldana (unassisted)
TA20- 86′ Saldana (Bratcher)
TA20- 91′ L. Jeffus (K.Jeffus)