The second version of the Black Gold Derby did not start off well for the Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
In front of 4,913 cheering fans, the Roughnecks renewed their intra-state rivalry with the Oklahoma City Energy FC and wound up on the short side of a 2-0 decision Saturday night at ONEOK Field.
The Energy received goals by Wojciech Wojcik and Daniel Gonzalez, both on assists from Kyle Hyland, within an eight-minute span midway through the first half to take control of the match. OKC (4-1-4) has now won three in a row and is unbeaten in its last eight, losing just its season-opener 2-1 to Colorado Springs back on Mar. 26. They move into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.
Photo by Rich Crimi
Tulsa (2-8-1) made a push in the second half, but was unable to solve OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, who needed to make just two saves for the shutout. The Roughnecks remain in 14th place in the 15-team West.
“Very disappointing,” said Tulsa coach David Irving of the loss, the team’s third in a row. “I thought we started off pretty well. We give away a couple of awful goals, to tell you the truth, and then we come back, and in the second half, we tried to make a fist of it. The boys are working hard, they’re not laying down or anything, but confidence is a good factor, no matter what sport you play.”
Oklahoma City, which won the big wrench last season for claiming the inaugural Black Gold Derby championship, won the first of four games between the squads this year.
Each team had a golden opportunity to seize an early lead in the contest’s opening three minutes, but the goalkeepers thwarted them.
First, the Energy had a chance about two minutes in when a long throw-in from the left sideline found Danni Konig in front, but his 5-yard volley was denied by Tulsa ‘keeper Jake Feener.
Then, about 30 seconds later, with Tulsa on the counter-attack, Brady Ballew lofted a 15-yard shot from the right wing that forced Laurendi to make a difficult, leaping one-handed stop.
Oklahoma City went ahead 1-0 on Wojcik’s goal in the 20th minute. Hyland delivered a nice pass into the middle, where Wojcik volleyed a 12-yard shot past Feener and just inside the left post.
Eight minutes later, OKC took a two-goal lead after Hyland’s cross from the top left of the penalty area sailed past several players and found Gonzalez on the right side for a booming one-timer from 4 yards out.
The Energy nearly made it a three-goal game in the 40th minute when Sebastian Dalgaard dribbled deep into the goalie box before firing a 5-yard shot that Feener made a spectacular lunging, one-handed save.
Jake Feener photo by Brooke Carroll
Oklahoma City had another prime scoring chance early in the second half, when Konig raced in on a breakaway in the 53rd minute, but Feener denied his 15-yard shot.
Less than two minutes later, the Roughnecks nearly got one back, but Henri’s 17-yard blast was smothered by Laurendi.
Tulsa continued to pressure for more opportunities, but never generated another dangerous offensive chance.
“At 2-nil, the next team that scores could go on to win, but we just couldn’t break them down, and they packed it in and made it difficult for us,” Irving said of the Roughnecks’ attempt to battle back. “They threw their bodies at the ball, we tried to make some changes to make it happen, and just couldn’t do it. It’s very disappointing that we continue to let some bad goals in.”
Tulsa was missing midfielder Iarfhlaith Davoren, who was serving his one-game suspension for receiving a red card in the previous match, although they did get forward Cristian Mata back on the field after he sat out the previous six outings with a persistent ankle injury.
Irving also hinted at some more changes possibly coming for the team.
“We may have to try to shuffle the deck a little bit, maybe bring in some fresh faces, just to freshen up and get through this patch,” Irving said. “They worked hard, they just weren’t quite good enough.”
After having the last two weeks off, the Roughnecks will be back in action next Saturday night, facing Saint Louis FC, now tied with OKC for fourth in the West, on the road at 7:30 p.m.