Playing in their third preseason exhibition match Saturday afternoon in San Antonio, the Tulsa Roughnecks FC and San Antonio FC played to an entertaining 1-1 draw. Both clubs found the back of the net in the first half before playing to a draw in the second half.
“It was very important to play another high-level team in a great stadium with a great atmosphere,” said Roughnecks head coach David Vaudreuil. “I expect the two teams to have a great rivalry this season, and I look forward to playing them again in the regular season.”
San Antonio started the match with the majority of possession as they earned two corner kicks in the first six minutes of the match. San Antonio forward Billy Forbes initiated the pressure as he forced the first corner off of Roughnecks defender Kosuke Kimura. But Tulsa was able to clear each corner with routine headers.
The match’s first booking came in the 13th minute as San Antonio earned a free kick 15 yards outside of the Roughnecks’ box after Juan Caffa was yellow carded for time wasting. Teammate Jaime Ayala earned a yellow shortly after Caffa as he was booked for a late challenge in the 18th minute.
The home side was the first to open the scoring thanks to Billy Forbes’ aggressive first half play. Forbes was a force in the match, creating multiple chances and requiring the Tulsa defenders to shut him down at various times within the match.
In the 24th minute, the forward collected a loose ball within the Tulsa six-yard box, and then saw his shot deflected past Roughnecks goalkeeper Bryan Byars into the back of the net to put San Antonio up 1-0.
But Tulsa was able to settle the play down and put more pressure on the San Antonio defenders as the half went on. Wiulito Fernandes was awarded a free kick after he was taken down on a streaking run down the right side of the field in the 29th minute.
On the ensuing free kick, Caffa played a dangerous ball into the San Antonio six-yard box to Ayala who managed to get a touch on the cross. Ayala’s shot managed to sneak past San Antonio goalkeeper, Matt Cardone, equalizing the score line at one.
The Roughnecks closed the half aggressively as Joaquin Rivas and Fernandes each sent shots just wide of the net before the halftime whistle.
The second half proved to be a physical one as San Antonio midfielder, Pecka, was booked with a yellow card just one minute into the period. The tension boiled over in the 50th minute as multiple players came together at midfield and had to be separated by the referee. Rafael Castillo of San Antonio was sent off from the altercation with a straight red card, forcing the home side to continue with just 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Despite playing with just 10 men, San Antonio managed to keep the pressure on the Roughnecks backline.
Forbes stood over a free kick in the 57th minute just outside the Tulsa box and curled the ensuing shot just wide of the frame of the goal. Byars managed to keep the score line even multiple times thanks to two fingertip saves, keeping the home side from finding a difference maker in the second half. Byars has only allowed two goals through three matches so far this preseason.
Vaudreuil made numerous substitutions in the second half to try and find the difference maker. Substitute Vinicius da Silva made his presence known after he rifled a long shot goalward, but was denied after an excellent save by Cardone. But the replacements were unable to capitalize on the man advantage.
Forbes was taken off late in the match by San Antonio, but not before slashing inside in the 75th minute to send another dangerous shot Byars’ way. But the Tulsa keeper was able to easily collect the attempt and clear the line.
“I was disappointed that when we had the man advantage, our substitutes did not do enough for us to go win the game,” said Vaudreuil. “But credit San Antonio as they created a lot of chances with Byars being the only thing keeping the score tied.”
The end of the match ended quietly as both sides saw out the remaining seconds in the midfield before the referee blew for full time with the score line even.
The clash was the first preseason match against a fellow United Soccer League (USL) side for Tulsa. The Roughnecks will travel next to Saint Louis to take on Saint Louis FC in their fourth preseason match on Saturday, March 18th at 7:00 PM.
The Roughnecks are scheduled to open the 2017 USL regular season on Saturday, March 25th when they host Colorado Springs at ONEOK Field. A number of ticket packages for the 2017 season are available at RoughnecksFC.com. Fans can also inquire about tickets by calling (918) 744-5901.
Photo courtesy of San Antonio FC