The Tulsa Roughnecks FC two-match trip to the western time zone ended with a second defeat Wednesday with a 4-0 loss to the resurgent Reno 1868 FC. Reno scored three second-half goals to produce the big victory.
With the loss, Tulsa’s USL regular season record dropped to 4-5-0 (12 points). Reno improved to 3-3-2 (11 points) after the victory. In its last three matches, all wins, Reno has outscored its opposition 14-0.
The Roughnecks opened Wednesday’s match with a similar squad and the same formation as was used in last week’s U.S. Open Cup victory over the OKC Energy U23 squad. Cristian Mata was the lone forward, atop a 3-3-3-1 formation with captain Juan Caffa in the middle of the trio of attacking midfielders.
It was Reno who opened the match aggressively with former Roughnecks midfielder Matt LaGrassa producing the game’s first shot on goal in the fifth minute. His effort from outside the penalty area was straight at Tulsa keeper Bryan Byars who made the save.
Two minutes later, TRFC had a chance when Caffa’s inward free kick deflected off Jaime Ayala in front of goal.
Dane Kelly, the USL’s all-time leading goal scorer who had delivered hat tricks in each of Reno’s last two matches, was held mostly in check, and it was a midfielder who eventually produced the first goal. Jimmy Ockford headed a cross from Seth Casiple past Byars to give Reno a 1-0 lead.
It was the only goal of the first 45 minutes, but it did not take Reno long to put a stamp on the game after the restart.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Jorge Corrales was whistled for a foul in the box, setting up a penalty kick for Dane Kelly. Byars made the initial save on Kelly’s PK, but the forward converted the rebound to make it 2-0. It was the seventh goal in the last three matches for the USL’s all-time leading scorer.
Any hopes for a Roughnecks comeback ended in a five minute stretch midway through the second stanza. In the 62nd minute, Lindo Mfeka was left in space and gave Byars no chance with a swerving left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Five minutes later, Antoine Hoppenot buried a right-footed shot to put the exclamation point on Reno’s 4-0 victory.
The Roughnecks will now return to Tulsa for a home match with Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday night at ONEOK Field. It will be a special Memorial Day Weekend match with activities before and after the game.
Beforehand, youth soccer players can go on the field for a pregame clinic with Roughnecks players and coaches. After the game, the skies above downtown Tulsa will light up with a holiday Fireworks Spectacular presented by Case & Associates, News On 6 and 97.1 The Sports Animal.
Tickets are on sale now by clicking HERE. Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Byars collects a shot during Wednesday's loss. (Photo by D. Calvert/Reno 1868 FC)