Tulsa Roughnecks FC closed out its four-match, preseason series in the state of Florida on Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Miami FC of the NASL. The defeat was the first of the trip for the Roughnecks and left them with a 2-1-1 record.
The victory for Miami gave them the championship in a four-team event that was held in Jacksonville over the past three days. The Roughnecks finished second in the competition ahead of the Charleston Battery of the USL and the host Jacksonville Armada from the NASL.
Saturday’s match marked the fourth in the last seven days for TRFC, and the busy slate may have had an effect, as the shorthanded Roughnecks seemed a step slower than earlier in the week.
Tulsa spent a majority of the first 45 minutes in its own half, and it appeared the match would be scoreless at halftime. However, Miami FC struck just before the first-half whistle sounded when Brazilian forward Pablo Campos beat Tulsa keeper Alex Mangels to open the scoring.
Down a goal, Tulsa got its best chance of the match just six minutes into the second half. Sammy Ochoa, who had scored four goals in the first three matches in Florida, was denied by an impressive save from Miami keeper David Sierra to keep the match at 1-0.
Campos sealed the outcome when he doubled Miami’s lead in the 70th minute with his second goal of the match.
Despite the defeat, Tulsa Head Coach David Irving was pleased with his squad’s performance.
“It was obvious that we were a little tired today, but I thought it was still a good performance,” said Irving. “They basically played two squads, while we were still shorthanded, even using assistant coach Tom Taylor in the final minutes.”
“But, you really have to look at the big picture,” he added. “We came out of this final match with no major injuries. We replaced David Abidor in the first half because of slight groin pull, but we overall are in good shape.”
The training in Florida was marred by an automobile accident that affected a group of Tulsa players, but Irving still thought it was beneficial trip in preparing for the regular season.
“These last few days have probably been the toughest of my coaching career,” he said. “The boys have been really great, but it will feel good to get home.”
The time down here has been very worthwhile as we have set a good foundation for the season. Sometimes, these types of events can bring a squad closer together, and I think that has happened.”
The Roughnecks will return to Tulsa Sunday evening and will enjoy an off day on Monday before they resume training on Tuesday. Tulsa fans will have their first chance to see the squad in action Thursday night, when TRFC travels the short distance to the University of Tulsa to face the Golden Hurricane. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30PM at Hurricane Stadium.
The Roughnecks will open USL regular season play on Saturday, March 26 when they host Rio Grande Valley (Houston Dynamo 2) at ONEOK Field.
Tickets for the match, as well as season tickets, are now on sale. Individual tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.