TULSA, OK—The Tulsa Athletics added new hardware to their trophy case over the weekend as they defeated The Fort Worth Vaqueros and Oklahoma City FC to hoist the Red River Cup.
The Red River Cup is a preseason tournament that pitted the Athletics against three other clubs, the Vaqueros and OKC FC, and a local club known as the Lobos. The Vaqueros and Oklahoma City will face the Athletics during league play in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The Lobos are one of the Tulsa area’s most storied clubs, winning numerous state titles and a two-time entrant in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The first round of the Red River cup was on Friday night. Oklahoma City defeated the Lobos in the early match 1-0, securing their place in the final to be held on Saturday night.
The late match featured the Athletics and Fort Worth and after falling behind 1-0 early on Dave Leung put the ball in the net on a deflection in the goal area in the game’s 35th minute to tie the match. Then Juan Penalta sealed the game for the home side on a header in the 56th minute (11 minutes after halftime) to give the Athletics the win and the right to face the OKC FC in the final to be held on Saturday night.
Leung would cap off a comeback in game two on Saturday night as he headed in a corner kick from midfielder Corey Albertson in the 72nd minute of the game to give the Athletics the equalizer in the match against Oklahoma City. OKC had the lead for most of the match on Saturday, scoring two goals in the first half. Ray Saari made it a one-goal affair when he chipped the ball in off a Jacob Schmoker free kick.
Tied at the end of regulation time, the game would be decided on penalty kicks, which are similar to a shootout in hockey. Penalty kicks are taken from the penalty spot, which is 12 yards from the goal line directly in front of the goal, with the shooter facing the goalkeeper with one shot. The goalie is not permitted to move from the goal line until the ball is kicked, and the shooter is not permitted to dribble the ball in on the goalie.
The first round of penalty kicks are best of five shooters and after that it is a sudden death situation. The Athletics scored on all seven penalty kicks they took, while Oklahoma City made every kick except for their final attempt, when an OKC FC player sent the ball high over the 8-foot tall crossbar with their sixth shooter.
In the end, the Athletics defeated the OKC FC 7-6 in penalty kicks, which were enough to settle the tie and give them ownership of the first ever Red River Cup title. After the game, forward Dave Leung was generous with in praising his teammates.
“These wins were a great opportunity to see where we are at,” Leung said, “The great thing is that we have been together for a short time and we are already gelled quite a bit.”
NPSL league play for Tulsa begins this weekend when the Athletics travel to Fort Worth to take on the Vaqueros at 7:30pm at LaGrave Field, their home pitch. From there they will travel to Bryan, Texas to take on the BCS Clash on May 11.
The next home game for the Athletics will be on May 14th at 7:30pm when they host the Oklahoma City Energy FC in the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup at 7:30pm in Athletics Stadium. Ticket information can be obtained at tulsaathletics.com.