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Roughnecks Battle Rio Grande Valley, Wind For 0-0 Draw

By tulsaadmin, 07/11/16, 8:15PM CDT

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Tulsa Roughnecks FC and the Rio Grande Valley Toros played to a 0-0 draw Sunday night in USL action at the Rio Grande Valley training ground.  The real winner in the match up was the south Texas wind that gusted over 25 mph for the entire contest, and neither side was able to find an offensive solution to it.

It was the second scoreless draw that the Roughnecks have played away from ONEOK Field this year.  They also drew 0-0 at Saint Louis FC on April 16.

It was also their third clean sheet.  In addition to the pair of scoreless draws, Tulsa blanked the Toros 2-0 in the opening match of the season.

The tie leaves TRFC with 12 points on the season, while the Toros improved their total to 25.

The Roughnecks backline featured two changes from their last match.  Gary Cennerazzo returned to his right back position, replacing Steven Miller who was recalled from his loan by the Carolina RailHawks.  Isaiah Schafer, who was signed just this week, replaced Matt Whatley at one of the center back positions.

Photo of Isaiah Schafer by A. Chagollan

Iarfhlaith Davoren, filling the captain’s role for the suspended Sammy Ochoa, won the coin toss, so the Roughnecks played the first half with the wind at their backs.

But, it was Tulsa keeper Alex Mangels who was tested first.  Mangels made three straight saves in just over 90 seconds of play in the 19th minute.

Two minutes later, Rio Grande keeper Callum Irving was called into action, forced to make a save on a curving free kick from Jasson Ramos Carpio.

The Roughnecks again came close to finding an opener in the 33rd minute as midfielder Matt LaGrassa’s shot from distance rolled just wide of the goalpost.

Going into the wind for the second 45 minutes, the Roughnecks set back and looked to break on the counter.  Their first dangerous chance of the half came 15 minutes in when a bending cross from Bryce Taylor was punched away by Irving.  It went straight to Carlos Martinez who could not put his header on the open goal.

Martinez had the other chance for TRFC in the 63rd minute when he found himself in space at the top of the box, but his left-footed shot went high and wide.

Tulsa had to survive some tense moments in the final minutes.  In the 87th minute, the Toros received a free kick about eight yards outside the penalty box.  Robert Castner’s blast deflected wide of Mangels’ goal, setting up a string of four straight corners from the Toros.  Mangels and the TRFC defense turned away all four to keep the match scoreless.

Photo of Alex Mangels by A. Chagollan

Just like in last Friday’s victory over Arizona, the Roughnecks had to survive an extended period of stoppage time.  The referee called for an additional 5 minutes of action, but 6½ minutes were actually played before the final whistle sounded.

The result gives TRFC four points from its last three matches.

The Roughnecks will look to build on that form next Friday, July 15, when they host Saint Louis FC at ONEOK Field.  It will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two sides.  Besides the draw, Saint Louis has posted two victories, out-scoring Tulsa 12-3 in the two matches.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm in downtown Tulsa.