A goal from TRFC's Jaime Ayala opened Saturday's scoring. (Matt Christensen)
The 2017 regular season finale began positively for the Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday night, with TRFC taking an early two-goal lead, but Colorado Springs rallied with four straight goals to send the Roughnecks to a 4-2 defeat at ONEOK Field. The loss leaves Tulsa with 46 points on the season with a 14-14-4 record. The wins and the point total are both franchise records.
Front page photo of Christian Thierjung by Rich Crimi
Despite the defeat, the Roughnecks will now prepare for their first-ever appearance in the USL Cup Playoffs which will begin next weekend.
With Saturday’s defeat, the Roughnecks will now have to wait until the conclusion of Sunday’s league matches to learn their first-round opponent. Tulsa will finish in either the sixth, seventh or eighth positions and will face a road matchup against either the Real Monarchs SLC, San Antonio FC or Reno 1868 FC.
Saturday’s finale started slowly with 20 minutes elapsing before the first shot on goal, but things quickly picked up.
A superb delivery from Juan Pablo Caffa helped give the Roughnecks the first goal of the match in the 29th minute as the TRFC captain’s lofted pass found Jaime Ayala. The right back collected the pass and finished like a striker with a blast into the far corner of the net to give Tulsa the 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Caffa set up Christian Thierjung who slid his shot into the lower corner of the net to double the lead at 2-0. The finish marked the third straight game that Thierjung has scored a goal for the Roughnecks.
The Switchbacks quickly found a way back into match as just three minutes after Tulsa’s second goal, Josh Suggs set up Kevaughn Frater who volleyed his shot into the far corner.
Colorado Springs got the equalizer in first-half stoppage time when the cross from Suggs found Jordan Burt in front of goal. The goal from the Switchbacks’ midfielder sent the two teams to the locker room level at 2-2.
Christian Thierjung celebrates scoring in three straight games. (Brooke Carroll)
It took Colorado Springs just seconds after the restart to go in front. A back pass from Mo Jadama forced TRFC goalkeeper Bryan Byars to race out of goals, but Burt blocked the clearance and calmly slotted his shot into the empty net to make it 3-2.
Kevaughn Frater closed out the scoring and made it a 4-2 lead when he blasted in a free kick from the top of the penalty arc in the 66th minute.
The four goals matched the most allowed by TRFC during a match this season.
Tulsa’s final spot in the standings and its playoff opponent will be determined following Oklahoma City’s match with Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday afternoon.
October 14, 2017
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
TUL – Ayala (Caffa) 29’
TUL – Thierjung (Caffa) 35’
COS – Frater (Suggs) 38’
COS – Burt (Suggs) 45 +1’
COS – Burt 46’
COS – Frater 66’
COS – Frater (caution) 45’
TUL – Ayala (caution) 53’
COS – Eboussi (caution) 89’
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Bryan Byars, Jaime Ayala, Modou Jadama, Bradley Bourgeois, Kosuke Kimura, Jonathan Levin, Jacori Hayes, Christian Thierjung (Paris Gee 78’), Juan Pablo Caffa© (Joaquin Rivas 73’), Joey Calistri (Pasha Kondrakhin 76’), Ian Svantesson.
Shots: 12; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 2; Fouls: 9; Corners: 1; Offside: 3.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Moise Pouaty, Shawn Chin, Pascal Eboussi, Josh Phillips, Josh Suggs©, Jordan Burt (Sean McFarlane 69’), Luke Vercollone (Tobenna Uzo 83’), Taeseong Kim, Kevaughn Frater (Shane Malcolm 69’), AJ Ajeakwa, Masta Kacher.
Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Fouls: 14; Corners: 2; Offside: 1.
The Roughnecks will learn their playoff fate on Sunday. (Lori Scholl)