Memphis 901 FC hits the road carrying a six match unbeaten streak as they take on FC Tulsa at ONEOK Field on Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m. CT.
The Beale St. Boys going into Friday’s matchup with momentum and confidence having not suffered a loss in league since March 18 most recently dispatching Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC with a 2-1 victory at home.
Memphis has played some of their best matches on the road with a 2-0-1 record and five match unbeaten streak away from AutoZone Park going back to the 2022 season.
At the center of the club’s surge in the last two months is winger Luiz Fernando, who leads the team with four goals and two assists in the league this season. The Brazilian international has scored or assisted a goal in each of the club’s last five USL Championship matches.
Fernando was named USL Championship Player of the Week for regular season week 10 after his two goal performance.
Memphis continues to climb up the Eastern Conference table, sitting at No. 6 with their 3-2-3 record and 12 points in only eight matches.
FC Tulsa currently sits at No. 10 in the Eastern Conference with a 1-3-6 record. Last time out, Tulsa split points with Las Vegas Lights FC, the most recent of three consecutive draws against Sacramento and Detroit City.
Fans can watch the match on WMC Bounce 5.2 locally and ESPN+ nationally.
“We’re going on 10 games now and we’re starting to hit our stride now. Picking up on guys’ tendencies, our style of play and what the staff wants, everybody’s just jelling with each other really well. We just want to improve every day and be a really good squad the rest of the year.” – Graham Smith
“The team’s working hard and battling hard. The objective is to win a championship, so it’s a mixture of everyone doing their work and I’m happy to be a part of it.” – Graham Smith
“It’s something I look forward to. Wherever I go, the objective is to defend Memphis and it’s very good when you can get a goal and keep them quiet, but the objective is to make sure the team is doing its best.” – Luiz Fernando
“(Tulsa) will think they’ve not gotten the points on the board that they deserved and that’s always a dangerous opponent. We need to be ready for that. They’ve got a lot of good players and a home game so they’ll be looking to get points on the board pretty quick before they get left behind. We know we’re going to play against an opponent that’s well kept, but I think we always look at ourselves and see what we can do and that’s always going to be our focus.” – Stephen Glass.
On the Come Up
After two losses at home to start the season, Memphis 901 FC is undefeated in their last six USL Championship matches with three wins and three draws and a +6 goal differential. The run is the longest unbeaten streak in club history.
The Ultimate Wingman
Winger Luiz Fernando has contributed to goals in each of the club’s last five league matches with four goals and two assists. Fernando put away two goals in the win over Colorado Springs to earn USL Championship Player of the Week after adding game-winning assists vs. Atlanta and Hartford.
The Brazilian winger scored four goals and six assists in 30 appearances in 2022.
Chances on Chances on Chances
Aaron Molloy leads the USL Championship in chances created and crosses, serving as the primary kick taker and captain on the pitch in the absence of Leston Paul due to injury. The Irish international has played every minute of action for 901 FC in 2023.
Molloy led the team with a franchise-record 10 assists last season on his way to finishing runner–up in USL Championship MVP voting.
Chances Created Leaderboard:
- Aaron Molloy – 29
- Charlie Dennis – 25
- Jack Gurr – 24
The Kid is Cooking
Nighte Pickering has proven himself to be a dangerous presence near opposition final thirds. The 18-year-old striker had his name called into the starting lineup for the first time this season on Saturday and answered with a go-ahead assist in the ninth minute. Pickering has put away a goal and an assist in USL competition and the game-winning goal in the U.S. Open Cup victory over Atlanta United.
Pickering scored two goals in seven appearances in 2022, including a bicycle kick goal on debut, before being called up to the U.S. U-19 Youth National Team in the offseason.
Memphis leads the USL Championship in shots per 90 minutes and are top-five in expected goals per 90 and final third entries.
Shots per 90 Leaderboard:
- Memphis – 15.37
- Sacramento – 14.78
- San Antonio – 13.60
Former USMNT and MLS goalkeeper Bill Hamid has made an immediate impact during his time in Memphis as the club has suffered only one loss since his signing. Hamid holds a 76% save rate with 16 saves on 21 shots faced in the USL Championship this season.
“Bill’s a veteran and a good teammate. Clearly, he’s a good shot stopper so I think it gives us an extra level of confidence and trust that we have a guy on our team who’s been there and done that. There’s got to be some level of fearlessness and I think he’ll have that and It’s on the boys to go in and see what we’re made of.” – Phillip Goodrum
Memphis 901 FC has been strong on the road with a 2-0-1 record this season. The Beale St. Boys suffered only three losses in their 17 matches away from AutoZone Park in the 2022 season and carry a four-match road unbeaten streak into Friday’s fixture.