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Roughnecks Win Opener 2-0 Before Over 5,300 At ONEOK Field

By tulsaadmin, 03/27/16, 5:45PM CDT

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The Tulsa Roughnecks F.C. opened the 2016 USL season Saturday night with a 2-0 victory over the Rio Grande Valley Toros before a raucous crowd of 5,328 at ONEOK Field.  The Roughnecks used a goal and an impressive second-half strike from Carlos Martinez to record the victory.

On the defensive end, TRFC got a big performance from goalkeeper Alex Mangels, who was making his professional debut in the match.

Photos of Alex Mangels and Kaleem by Rich Crimi

The Toros, the USL club for the Houston Dynamo of MLS, were playing their first game in franchise history, and they started the match well.  RGV controlled a majority of the possession during the first ten minutes, but they were denied by the crossbar on two occasions.

The Roughnecks slowly got it not the game with Brady Ballew producing the match's first shot on goal in the 18th minute, but RGV goalkeeper Devin Perales shaved the soft shot.

Tulsa finally opened the scoring in the 32nd minute on a fortuitous deflection.  A shot from David Abidor deflected off Dzenan Catic of the Toros and past a helpless Perales to make it 1-0 Roughnecks.

Sammy Ochoa threatened to double the lead with a pair of chances late in the half.  His header in front of goal was picked out of the air by Perales.  Later, his on rushing, left-footed shot from the top of the box sliced wide of goal.

The second goal did eventually come for the Roughnecks, and it came just seconds after the halftime break.  Midfielder Carlos Martinez found himself in space just inside the box and buried a perfect shot into the upper left corner of the net to make it 2-0. 

From there, it became the Alex Mangels show.  The Tulsa goalkeeper, who was making his professional debut, repeatedly denied the Toros their first goal with several saves over the final half hour. 

The University of California-Berkeley product was officially credited with 12 saves in his debut. 

The Roughnecks did not record their first shutout until the eighth match of last season.

TRFC was out-shot in the victory by 22-13 count.

Roughnecks Head Coach David Irving was pleased with the result if not the performance.  He said, "We didn't play the way we wanted to play, and  I think there were a lot of nerves out there.  The scoreline did not dictate some of our second-half play.  We didn't play our best, but we got three points so we will take it."

The coach was impressed with the first-year Toros.  "They played well, so full credit to them," he said.   "A first-year team that were organized and made it difficult for us."

Mangels, who was voted the Man of the Match by the Roustabouts, enjoyed his professional debut.  

"This was great," he said.  "Being in front of these fans for only one game, but it was awesome.  The atmosphere is top notch, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season." 

Tulsa will be back in action at ONEOK Field next Saturday, April 2, when it hosts another new side, Swope Park Rangers. Rangers, who are the USL 2 side for Sporting KC of MLS, opened the 2016 season by posting a 2-1 home victory over Portland Timbers 2.

Tickets for the match are available online at TulsaRoughnecksFC.com, over the telephone at (918)744-5901 or in-person at the ONEOK Field Ticket Office. A number of season ticket packages are also still available.

Tulsa will be back in action at ONEOK Field next Saturday, April 2, when it hosts another new side, Swope Park Rangers.  Rangers, who are the USL 2 side for Sporting KC of MLS, opened the 2016 season by posting a 2-1 home victory over Portland Timbers 2.

Tickets for the match are available by clicking HERE.