Tulsa Brushes Aside Cross-Town Rival

Soccer analyst Ryan Shumaker offers a glimpse of TU’s match against ORU

On Monday night, Hurricane Stadium was brimming with anticipation for a fiercely competitive clash of 918 rivals. While there was more than enough ferocity to go around, hope of a competitive match proved early on to be forlorn. After an even opening five minutes, some quick link up play between Mitchell Cashion and Alex Meinhard sent the Tulsa fullback streaking away down the left-hand side with crossing options in the center. The defensive reaction from Oral Roberts University would set the tone for the rest of the game and gift wrap Tulsa a welcome early advantage. After Golden Eagles’ captain and senior defender whiffed on a halfhearted attempt to foul Cashion, ORU sophomore, Joel Quashie made up for his teammate’s lack of conviction in one fell, shambolic swoop. Darting back at full pelt to close Cashion down, Quashie abandoned all sense of reason at the crucial moment. The midfielder launched himself into Cashion with two feet leading the way, missing the ball completely and giving the referee no other choice but to send him off. Perhaps it could be justified by an untamed rush of adrenaline to the head, but it was a textbook red card offense and was just the beginning of a rivalry match riddled with recklessness.

It was 10 minutes after going a man down that the Golden Eagles unsurprisingly went a goal down. An out-swinging corner kick from Tom Protzek pinballed around the six-yard box until Wes Bottenburg simply ran into the ball and opened the scoring. An essential part of the standard protocol when facing a superior opponent with 10 men is to refrain from making any rash challenges that could draw additional heat from the official. However, the ORU men elected to stick to their guns and double down on the approach that saw them reduce 10 men in the first place. As the wild tackles and desperate dives continued, scoring chances began to come at a steady rate for the Golden Hurricane. The two trends aligned in the 21st minute as Malik Henry-Scott attempted to get his head on a cross and met the rising foot of ORU’s Eugene Quaynor. The referee awarded a penalty for Quaynor’s ridiculous attempt at a clearance and cautioned the defender for his dangerous play. Tulsa’s leading scorer in 2021, Alex Meinhard dispatched the penalty with ease to notch his second goal of the season and double Tulsa’s lead.

With 70 minutes to play and the game all but gone, the sensible course of action is to shut up shop on the attacking front, defend for your life and take the 2-0 loss. This was the 918 Derby however, and the Golden Eagles’ pride would not allow them to succumb to the trappings of conventional wisdom. For it was just seconds after going 2-0 down that ORU’s first half display was summed up in a sequence of comical petulance from their captains. Senior midfielder Josseylyn Petel was booked for tackling Meinhard from behind and offered no protest as he was fully aware of his guilt. However, his fellow captain, Quaynor who had just been cautioned for the foul on Henry-Scott in the box decided to appeal the uncontroversial decision. The referee immediately brandished a second yellow for Quaynor, reducing ORU to nine men just 25 minutes into the game. The game’s first half saw eight bookings total and while the second half was no more competitive, the aggression continued, and Tulsa doubled their goal tally.

Two substitutes were the standouts of the second half for the Golden Hurricane. Striker Austin Schweinert and left back Gustaf “Goose” Rosengren were thorns in the side of the nine-man opposition and both got themselves on the scoresheet. Schweinert took his goal cleverly. The ball was awkwardly beneath him, so he simply dinked it into the top corner for Tulsa’s third. Just after the hour mark, Schweinert laid the ball off for the overlapping Rosengren who passed it into the far corner to deal the final blow to an already battered Oral Roberts side.

Aside from the entertainment value of the fouls and sending offs, the win brings more confidence to the Golden Hurricane as they prepare to host third ranked Kentucky on September 11th in what will be their first real test of the season.

Post Author: Ryan Shumaker