TULSA – Bryson Reed made three saves during penalty kicks to lift Tulsa Athletic to a 6-5 win in penalties, sending the green and yellow to the South Region Finals on Saturday. After a 0-0 score after 120 minutes, Tulsa Athletic converted six penalty attempts to claim the victory on Wednesday (July 20) night at Athletic Community Field at Hicks Park.
“We are very proud of the boys and how they handled themselves throughout the game,” assistant coach Ray Saari said. “They showed a lot of fight and grit. We are excited for the next round in Jacksonville. They are a good team. But at the end of the day we feel very confident in our team. That’s because of their quality and determination. A good win tonight, and we look forward to the game in Jacksonville on Saturday.”
In the penalty shootout, Laredo Heat was up after one round at 1-0, but Reed made back-to-back saves going to his right, and Juan Arias and Titus Grant scored on their PKs to give Tulsa a 2-1 edge after three attempts from each side.
Joe Ruiz upped the margin to 3-1 before Laredo put in their PK for a 3-2 mark after four rounds. Javo Reyes stepped up to the spot in the fifth round, but his attempt was saved. Laredo evened the score at 3-3 after five to extend the shootout.
In the next two rounds, all four shots went in to make it 5-5. Ruben Carrasco and Vini Oliveira converted their PKs for the green and yellow.
Ruben Torres hit a strike to put Tulsa up 6-5 in the eighth round. And Reed made the save to secure the win as he got his left hand on the attempt and it hit off the crossbar to give Tulsa Athletic the 6-5 win.
In a matchup of two of the top defenses in the NPSL, the match was scoreless after 120 minutes of action. Tulsa had three opportunities in the first half, two from Diallo and one from Aaron Ugbah, but Laredo’s goalkeeper Connor Durant came up with saves to keep it 0-0 after 45 minutes.
The second half saw much of the same with both teams having chances, but neither team converting. The 90 minutes of regulation ended still scoreless, sending the match to two 15 minute periods of overtime.
During the second overtime period, Tulsa’s Joel Quashie was shown a red card in the 111th minute, and the green and yellow played with 10 men during the final minutes of overtime.
Reed, who was named the Man of the Match, earned the shutout in 120 minutes, his second shutout during the playoffs and the seventh shutout this season for Tulsa Athletic.
The green and yellow advance to the South Region Finals for the fourth time in club history and for the third straight season. A season ago, Tulsa Athletic won the South Region Finals over Southern States in Tulsa Athletic. The green and yellow also advanced to the South Region Finals in 2014 and 2019.
Tulsa Athletic travels to Jacksonville Armada U23 on Saturday for the South Region Finals at Jangro Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. A live video stream will be available.