Tulsa Roughnecks FC closed out its 2016 preseason schedule Saturday night with its first action of the year at ONEOK Field, posting a 3-2 victory over F.C. Wichita. The result improved Tulsa’s preseason record to 4-2-2 (W-L-D). The Roughnecks will open USL regular season play next Saturday, March 26, by hosting the Rio Grande Valley Toros at ONEOK Field.
F.C. Wichita plays in the NPSL and was taking the field for the first time this year. It is the second year in a row that the two sides have met in a friendly.
Tulsa held most of the possession to open the match and the pressure paid off with the opening goal in the 15th minute when midfielder Carlos Martinez found the net. Martinez took possession in midfield and dribbled to the edge of the box before unleashing a shot that found the upper right portion of the goal.
The Roughnecks continued to produce chances. Two minutes later defender Matt Whatley’s header was saved off the line and a shot from Kaleem in the 35th minute bounced off the post.
(Kaleem Photo by Rich Crimi)
Despite the pressure, it was Wichita who produced the game’s second goal, scoring just before the halftime break. The goal came when a ball deflected off referee Jack Damrill and directly to Jacob Rangel at the top of the penalty area. Rangel fired a perfectly placed shot that was out of the reach of a diving Jake Feener to even the score at 1-1.
Kaleem put the Roughnecks back in front in the 58th minute. The captain of the Pakistan National Team took a pass Jasson Ramos Carpio in front of goal and buried his shot to give TRFC a 2-1 lead.
The 20-year-old Carpio was also responsible for Tulsa’s third goal. The Guatemalan beat a pair of defenders racing down the left side before flipping a cross into the box. The pass deflected off Wichita midfielder Chris Lemons and into the net. The own goal increased the Roughnecks lead to 3-1.
Wichita made things interesting in late in the match. In the 89th minute, Leo Sosa took a shot from distance that dipped over the head of Tulsa goalkeeper Alex Mangels and struck the crossbar. The deflection went straight to Carlos Contreras who finished past Mangels to make it 3-2.
Wichita had one final opportunity in stoppage time, but the Roughnecks were able to protect the one-goal lead over the two minutes of added time to gain the victory.
“I thought it was a great exercise for the week before we start the regular season,” said Tulsa Head Coach David Irving. “The stuff we have been working on the past couple of weeks is starting to show up. It is just a little disappointing to give up a goal two minutes before halftime and two minutes before fulltime.”
He added, “We are a different team than last year, and I think sometimes we are playing a little too much football.”
The coach enjoyed the return of Ramos Carpio, who was making his first appearance since the second preseason match. “He is a special talent, and I think the fans are really going to like the way he plays.”
The Roughnecks owned a statistical edge in the contest. They finished with 13 total shots, compared to 5 for Wichita. TRFC held a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal and an 8-2 edge in corner kicks.