It was Tulsa versus Tulsa Thursday night as the Roughnecks stayed close to home for their fifth friendly of the preseason, making the short drive to the University of Tulsa to face the NCAA Golden Hurricane. In a match that featured chances for both sides, neither team could find the back of the net as the two sides settled for a 0-0 draw at Hurricane Stadium.
The scoreless battle left the Roughnecks with a 2-2-1 record in their five matches as they prepare for the 2016 USL regular season. The Golden Hurricane are in the midst of spring practice in anticipation of the NCAA regular season this fall.
Photos of Taylor Morgan & Iarfhlaith Davoren by: Brooke Carroll
The match started slowly with neither goalkeeper seeing any action. The Roughnecks' Jake Feener was finally called into action in the 10th minute when he came out of goal to deny the Golden Hurricane on a breakaway.
Feener made another diving save seven minutes later, before the Roughnecks started to finally find chances in the later stages of the first 45 minutes.
Brady Ballew, who started at right back, produced a dangerous run and cross in the 33rd minute, and Iarfhlaith Davoren's soft header on the ensuing corner was easily saved.
Sammy Ochoa, who has four goals in the preseason for the Roughnecks, nearly produced a fifth in the 44th minute, but the forward's header bounced off the crossbar.
Head coach David Irving made a number of changes for the second half, sending on several trialists. In addition, Alex Mangels continued his rotation with Feener in the Roughnecks goal as he came on for the second 45 minutes.
It did not take the Hurricane long to call on the new keeper as Mangels was forced into a sliding save on another breakaway in the 51st minute.
The Roughnecks countered at the other end, but Cristian Mata's shot from the left side of the box skimmed over the top of the net.
Adriano Pellegrino, who was making his debut for the Roughnecks, had a shot from distance turned away in the 65th minute, and Taylor Morgan's effort on the following corner kick was also turned away.
The Golden Hurricane continued to test Mangels, and the University of California-Berkeley product was up to the task, tipping a shot over the crossbar in the 70th minute and turning aside another shot in the 79th minute.
TU continued to look the more dangerous side over the final 10 minutes but could not produce a goal.
For Irving, the outing was not a surprise. His team was playing its fifth match in 13 days and was without the services of Kaleemullah, Jasson Ramos Carpio and Henri who are all nursing various injuries.
"If I were a betting man, I would have said we would have played that way," he said. "We had a tough week last week, and we were not really up to it tonight."
"We had some guys out of position, and we were off the pace.
"But that is what preseason is all about, and there are no excuses for us. It's all credit to TU as they made it difficult for us."
Irving added that he felt his squad is making progress. "We have two weeks to go before the start of the regular season, and we are getting there," he said.
The Roughnecks will have further opportunity to progress as they are back in action Saturday afternoon in Owasso. Tulsa will take on Oklahoma Wesleyan University at Owasso High School during Owasso Soccer Day presented by Hillcrest Health System.
The Roughnecks players and coaches will conduct a free clinic beginning at 1:00pm for youth players who wear their jerseys. The match with Oklahoma Wesleyan will follow the clinic and will kick off at 3:00pm.
Tickets for the match are available at the Owasso High School and are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Kids who participate in the clinic will receive free admission. All proceeds will benefit the Owasso soccer program.