With key wins over Dallas City FC at home and the Liverpool Warriors who are also based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on the road over the past two weeks, the Tulsa Athletics secured the top seed in the National Premier Soccer League’s South Central Conference. They clinched a playoff berth with a 3-0 win over Corinthians FC, based in San Antonio three weeks ago.
It will be the second straight trip to the playoffs for head coach Joey Ryan and his team, who in two years of play in in the NPSL have lost only once in the regular season.
The playoff and top seed clinching game for the Athletics was two weeks ago against Dallas and it featured a dominant performance from midfielder Levi Coleman, who scored his second hat-trick of the season on June 27th.
Damieon Masterson opened the scoring against Dallas in the game’s second minute, after Jason Schmoker corralled a clearance by Athletics goalkeeper Jacob Rogers. Schmoker fed the ball to Masterson who punched it in to give the home club the early lead. Twenty minutes later Dallas City’s David Kamali broke loose and beat Rogers to net the equalizer. It would be Dallas City’s only mark of the game.
Levi Coleman began his scoring spree at the 32nd minute of the game when he took a lead pass from Niall Masterson, blew past two Dallas City defenders and put the ball in the net to give Tulsa a one-goal lead going into the break. Dallas City dominated possession time through opening ten minutes of the second half, threatening several times to equalize the game, but the Athletics defense, backstopped by Rogers in goal held off every threat by the visitors.
Coleman then scored his second goal of the match in the game’s 66th minute when he headed in a beautiful crossing pass from Athletics captain Daniel Wasson to give his team a two goal advantage. He then closed out his hat-trick eight minutes later when Wasson found Coleman open near the top of the goal area and after being knocked to the ground used a great second effort to put in his third and the game’s final goal in the 74th minute.
From there the Athletics defense locked down and held on until the game’s final whistle. For his efforts, Coleman earned Man of the Match honors and his teammate Kevin Howard was awarded the Defensive Player of the game.
The win over Dallas City FC and a 4-2 win over Liverpool Warriors last Saturday in Dallas have lifted the Athletics to 9-1 on the season. The loss for the Athletics came on June 15th, a 5-2 loss at the hands of Oklahoma City FC. The loss is notable for the sole reason that it was the A’s first regulation loss ever.
The Athletics have also hosted two “friendly” or exhibition matches this summer, the first was a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Houston Dynamo under-23 team, which is a developmental team for the MLS’ Houston Dynamo and a win over CF Monterrey, where the teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time, then gained the win in a penalty kick shootout 4-2.
The Athletics in clinching the top seed in the NPSL South Central Conference has the privilege of hosting the conference playoffs at Athletics Stadium and they will face either the San Antonio-based Corinthians FC or the Dallas FC in the first round of the playoffs, which begins this Saturday, July 12th at Athletics Stadium, which was once known as Drillers Stadium at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
Three games will be played over the upcoming weekend at Athletics Stadium, with semifinal matches at 4:30pm and 7pm on July 12th, and the final to be played at 7:30pm on July 13th.
The winner of the South Central Conference advances to the semifinals of the NPSL, which is as far as the Athletics advanced last season before being defeated by Birmingham (AL) last July.
The Athletics have reduced their admission price for the playoffs, throwing the entire grounds open…in both general and reserved admissions seating to just $5. More information can be obtained by logging on to www.tulsaathletics.com.