Tulsa SC Needs Just One Point From Final Two Matches to Clinch But FC Dallas Still Has a Chance to Claim Division Title For Themselves
Published Jul 9, 2021
Photo Credits - Tulsa Soccer Club Media


In the past three seasons of the Red River Conference’s Northern Division, the division title has come down to either FC Dallas or Tulsa Soccer Club. In 2018, Tulsa SC, then named Fortuna Tulsa, finished nine points behind FC Dallas who claimed the division with an 8-1-1 record. The following season, Tulsa made up for their inaugural season second-place finish, a standings-position they shared with Oklahoma City FC, by claiming a division title of their own from a margin of nine points while Dallas finished third.


Now, in 2021, the two most recent champions remain in the hunt for the division title again. After six matches, Tulsa has 15 points and is sitting in first place by a margin of five points while Dallas is tied at third with OKC FC at 10 points. Friday night’s matchup between Tulsa and FC Dallas will either secure who faces AHFC Royals in the Red River Conference title match next weekend or give a breath of life to FC Dallas and OKC FC who both want to bounce back from tough 2019 campaigns.


For conference championship scenarios, the most direct outcome is a Tulsa victory although a draw would also ensure their spot in the matchup versus the Royals. Alternatively, should FC Dallas beat Tulsa they would move within two points of first place while jumping OKC FC for second, and crowning a division winner will come down to the final matches of the regular season.



FC Dallas

After their 2018 division title, FC Dallas slipped to a third-place finish the following season while earning 11 points in eight matches on a 3-3-2 record – winning more matches on the road than at Toyota Soccer Center.


So far in their 2021 campaign, FC Dallas has improved their record at home by winning both of their home matches over Southstar FC and OKC FC while scoring a combined five goals and only conceding one goal – compared to giving up nine goals in their four away matches.


Leading the scoring for FC Dallas is 19-year-old forward Diana Ordonez who is having a breakout first season in the WPSL. Ordonez has scored four of the five goals FC Dallas has recorded at home including braces on June 9 and 29 – success that she has carried over from her two collegiate seasons at the University of Virginia where she’s earned back-to-back All-ACC Second Team selections for the Cavaliers.


With just two matches left in their regular season, FC Dallas will need to continue their home-field success to keep the division title in reach as they host both matches, including Friday’s matchup with Tulsa.



Tulsa SC

With a five-point lead and two matches to go, Tulsa is a strong favorite for the division title as they ultimately hold their own fate. Tulsa opened the 2021 season with two wins over SouthStar FC and Texas Spurs FC before falling to in-state rival OKC FC by a single goal. Since their loss, Tulsa won each of the following three matches, all of which were at home, while scoring seven goals and conceding only two.


With their final two matches on the road, Tulsa needs to overcome some obstacles that could jeopardize their division title hopes. Tulsa will end their regular season with back-to-back matches Friday and Saturday at a time during the season when players begin to depart in preparation for the upcoming collegiate preseason – a hurdle that has already affected their roster.  Tulsa will travel with only 16 players which is a drastic comparison to their previous player-pool selection of the 35 they had to choose from to fill their 20-player matchday rosters earlier in the season.


Tulsa felt the roster impact in their previous match last Saturday with SouthStar FC after losing both starting center-backs prior to the 2-0 victory. Filling one of those positions was Oklahoma State center-back, Kionna Simon, who had been playing at midfield for Tulsa thus far in the season. Simon scored a brace in their 3-1 win over Dallas on July 19.


Offensively, Tulsa will also need to fill the void left from the absence of leading goal scorer Mia Darden who as three goals on the season including a brace in their previous match. The forward has since returned to California before she reports back to Tulsa University for the upcoming fall season. While losing a center-back duo and leading scorer is difficult, it’s not something that worries head coach Mike Schwarz.


“We’ve had the depth all season and do have the depth right now where it’s next up in line,”  Schwarz said. “Plug in and go.”


Being one point away from securing the division Schwarz’s side knows what Friday’s match means, and the weekend overall, so they plan on taking their final two contests one match at a time and aren’t looking ahead to a potential conference championship match next weekend.


If we get the result tomorrow night, we’re in good shape,”  Schwarz said. “If we don’t, Saturday’s match will mean a lot more. We’ll have to regroup and game plan for that.”



The Final Matches


After the four-hour travel to Toyota Soccer Complex on Friday, Tulsa’s final regular-season match comes against Texas Spurs FC Saturday night. Should Tulsa claim the division title, they will have a week to prepare for the conference championship versus AHFC Royals who is set to host the championship match in Houston.


Dallas’ final match of the regular season will also be against the Spurs on Wednesday, July 14 leaving them just a few days to prepare for the potential conference championship should the cards fall in their favor.


All remaining Red River Conference matches can be streamed live on the Eleven Sports website or app, the official streaming partner of the WPSL.




  Author:  Thomas Costello,  @1thomascostello (twitter)
  WPSL Contributor - Central Region