Tulsa Roughnecks FC played its first away match of the season Saturday night and turned in a workmanlike performance with a 0-0 draw against Saint Louis FC before a sellout crowd at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in St. Louis.
Photo by Lori Scholl
The draw snaps a two-match losing streak for TRFC and improves its season point total to four with a 1-2-1 record after four games. Saint Louis now has five points with a 1-2-2 mark after five matches.
It is the second shutout of the season for the Roughnecks and goalkeeper Alex Mangels. Mangels was officially credited with six saves, but most were routine as Tulsa’s midfield and backline combined to limit the chances for STLFC.
With the large crowd in support, Saint Louis started the match positively and controlled most of the play through the first 15 minutes.
In the 31st minute, Tulsa Head Coach David Irving was forced to turn to his bench when left back Raymond Lee suffered a leg injury stretching to block a cross. David Abidor came on for Lee, and the backline continued to protect Mangels.
Tulsa’s best chances of the half occurred in the final five minutes. The first came in the 41stminute when Taylor Morgan was fed a through ball, but former University of Tulsa goalkeeper Mark Pais just beat him to the ball at the top of the box.
Two minutes later, Morgan was in one on one with the keeper, but Pais took the ball off his foot before the striker could get his shot off.
Halfway through the second half, Mangels was called into to duty by the dangerous Jamiel Hardware. The forward was left in space for a shot from 18 yards, but the Tulsa keeper made a diving save to keep things scoreless.
Alex Mangels photo courtesy of Saint Louis FC
Ninety seconds later, TRFC had a chance at the other end, but Abidor could not get full force on his shot, and the soft roller was stopped by Pais.
Tulsa product Cristian Mata made his first appearance of the season in the 80th minute as the Roughnecks looked to grab the full three points with a late goal. But, neither side could find the net as the two teams split the points.
Irving was pleased with the draw. “It was a good performance,” he said. “The boys worked hard, and we are not easy to breakdown. Dav and Henri were really solid and gave us good effort in midfield. We are improving, and we need to take this performance and continue to get better.”
The Roughnecks will be back home for their next outing on Saturday, April 23. Tulsa will host the Portland Timbers 2 at ONEOK Field with kickoff at 7:00PM. The Timbers, who have lost their first three matches, host Sacramento Sunday afternoon.