Collin Fernandez takes on a defender in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Reno 1868 FC. (Rich Crimi)
The Tulsa Roughnecks FC staged a big comeback Saturday night at ONEOK Field in a rematch with Reno 1868 FC, but a heartbreaking, late goal ended Tulsa’ five-match unbeaten run. After the Roughnecks overturned a two-goal first-half deficit, Reno found a late winner to record a 3-2 victory in downtown Tulsa.
It was the first loss for TRFC since June 27 after going unbeaten throughout the month of July. The defeat leaves the Roughnecks on 26 points with an 8-9-2 record and drops them into the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference standings. Tulsa does have two and three games in-hand on two of the three teams directly in front of it in the standings.
Reno improved to 33 points with a 9-5-6 record after the victory.
The first chance of the match fell to the Roughnecks in the 8th minute. Ian Svantesson slid through the Reno backline and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Matt Bersano. Bersano came up big and smothered the shot to keep the match scoreless.
That changed in the 19th minute. Reno midfielder Luis Felipe Fernandes chipped a ball over Roughnecks defender Aaron Guillen and delivered a perfect layoff to Antoine Hoppenot in front of goal. Hoppenot was unmarked and easily slide his shot into the net to give Reno the early 1-0 lead.
Seven minutes later the lead doubled to 2-0. After a run down the left side, Chris Wehan set up USL career goals leader Dane Kelly in front of goal. The lethal Kelly left TRFC keeper Fabian Cerda with no chance as his right-footed shot blasted into the back of the net.
After the halftime break, that game turned as the Roughnecks came out on the attack, and Juan Pablo Caffa promptly pulled a goal back just seven minutes after the restart. After a foul was whistled just outside the left side of the penalty area, the Tulsa captain performed his magic, curving a left-footed shot into the upper corner, just inside the far post. It was Caffa’s sixth goal of the season, and three have come on free kicks.
TRFC kept pushing forward in search of an equalizer, and it came in the 67th minute. Caffa was left in space and his shot from five yards outside the box forced a diving save from Reno keeper Matt Bersano. Bersano was unable to hold onto the shot, and an onrushing Ian Svantesson slid and rolled his shot into the net to level the score at 2-2. It was the team-leading ninth goal of the season for the big striker.
Ian Svantesson slots home his ninth goal of the season in Saturday's match. (Brooke Carroll)
After the equalizer, the game turned again as Reno retook control, owning most of the possession. The pressure finally paid off in the 84th minute. Substitute Brian Brown dribbled past Jorge Corrales and Bradley Bourgeios down the right wing before crossing to Chris Wehan. Wehan was unmarked just three yards in front of goal and pushed his shot into the net before a sliding Jaime Ayala could keep it out.
In the final six minute and three minutes of stoppage time, the Roughnecks could not find an equalizer for a second time, giving 1868 the full three points. Tulsa fell despite out-shooting Reno 13-7 in the match.
“I was happy with the way the guys responded after giving up the two goals,” said TRFC Head Coach David Vaudreuil. “We showed a lot of heart and battled back with the two goals, but we could not finish it off.”
Vaudreuil’s attention now turns to Saint Louis FC and Black Gold Derby foes OKC Energy, who will both visit ONEOK Field on Thursday and Sunday. “This loss gives us more incentive to go win the two games,” he said. “We will rotate players, but we can’t sit back and wait for it to happen. We have to make it happen.”
The pair of games will complete a three-game stretch of home games for the Roughnecks. The stand will continue with the Thursday meeting with Saint Louis FC. Which will be followed by the Saturday match with the Oklahoma City Energy. Both games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at ONEOK Field. Tickets are available by clicking HERE.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2 Reno 1868 FC 3
Saturday, August 5, 2017
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
RNO – Hoppenot (Fernandes) 19’
RNO – Kelly (Wehan) 26’
TUL – Caffa 52’
TUL – Svantesson 67’
RNO – Wehan (Brown) 84’
RNO - Fernandes (caution) 52’
TUL – Corrales (caution) 58’
TUL – Caffa (caution) 64’
RNO – Hoppenot (caution) 84’
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda, Aaron Guillen, Modou Jadama, Francisco Ugarte (Jaime Ayala 79’), Bradley Bourgeois, Jorge Corrales, Collin Fernandez (Joaquin Rivas 73’), Joey Calistri (Brady Ballew 88’), Juan Pablo Caffa ©, Christian Thierjung, Ian Svantesson.
Shots: 13; Shots On-Goal: 4; Saves: 1; Fouls: 7; Corners: 3; Offsides: 3.
Reno 1868 FC: Matt Bersano, Brent Richards, Jordan Murrell, Jimmy Ockford ©, Nick Niederhausern, Matt LaGrassa, Luis Felipe Fernandes, Lindo Mfeka (Brian Brown 70’), Chris Wehan, Antoine Hoppenot, Dane Kelly (Seth Casiple 85’).
Shots: 7; Shots On-Goal: 4; Saves: 2; Fouls: 11; Corners: 5; Offsides: 0.
Juan Caffa scored his fifth goal of the season in the loss to Reno. (Matt Christensen)