Saturday’s clash with second place FF Premier was a massive game with huge title implications. A win would see young Athletic go six points clear of their rivals while a loss would actually see them drop into second place. The stage was set.
TA20 looked the livelier side in the first half with their pressure schemes forcing several turnovers from an FF Premier side who typically enjoy spreading the ball around in their possession based attack. A beautiful 5 pass build-up that spanned 80 yards of the pitch saw in inch perfect cross find Abou Diallo whose shot went just wide of frame from 7 yards out. Diallo would later hit the crossbar and see several other chances go close. FF Premier had a couple of efforts from range in the first stanza, but nothing that required Nolan Cosgrove to be called into action.
“I thought our pressure was great, and that our finishing let us down. Simple as that” said coach Levi Coleman.
The TA20 work rate continued throughout the second half and they got their just rewards in the 57th minute. FF Premier tried playing a short goal kick and the press yielded another turnover as Abou Diallo cut out a pass and played a ball into a wide open Whitney Gonsalves. Gonsalves wrapped his foot around the ball and goalkeeper De Leon was only able to get his fingertips to it and not keep it out. The goal, Gonsalves’ third on the year, put TA20 out in front with a half hour to play.
Young Athletic have not claimed a clean sheet this season and FF Premier have not been shut out. That said, the home side were going to throw everything at Tulsa to try and get a result. In steps Nolan Cosgrove.
“Nolan was solid for us tonight. He made some big saves at some key points in the game.” said Coleman of Cosgrove
Cosgrove was called upon to make 3 or 4 saves in the final 30 minutes as well as expertly cutting out several crossed balls.
A big mistake saw the game iced in the 90th minute. Substitute Oliver Korngor intercepted the ball as Bozman was trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper De Leon. Korngor’s touch took him past the goalkeeper and he calmly slotted the proverbial dagger into the hearts of FF Premier, doubling the lead and giving Korngor a goal on his TA20 debut.
Tulsa saw off pressure for the remaining 5 minutes of injury time and brought home a massive 3 points.
Tyler FC Kings held on to win 4-3 in Little Rock against Arkansas Wolves, so they remain 3 points adrift of Tulsa with two matches to play.
TA20 can all but clinch the title (Tyler would still have a mathematical chance on goal difference) with a win versus rivals Dallas City FC on Sunday 1/12 at 2:00 at Union Soccer complex. Be there or be square! I smell trophies!
Gonsalves(3) (Diallo) 57th minute
Korngor(1) 90th minute