TRFC goalkeeper Fabian Cerda made five saves in Saturday's draw at RGV. (Photo by C. Inoferio)
The Tulsa Roughnecks FC stayed unbeaten in three games under new head coach Michael Nsien, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Saturday night at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. Both goals came just two minutes apart late in the second half as the two teams split the points.
Front page photo of Michael Gamble by C. Inoferio/RGV Toros
For the Roughnecks, they are now 1-0-2 in three matches with Nsien in charge. For the season, they now have 12 points on the season from a 1-8-9 overall record. The nine draws are a franchise record.
On a hot and humid night in south Texas, Saturday’s match began at a slow pace, but TRFC goalkeeper Fabian Cerda was called upon to make two saves in the first 45 minutes.
Tulsa had a good first-half opportunity in the 26th minute, and it came off a corner kick. Nemanja Vukovic was left unmarked on the cross, but his header was wide of the frame and just out of the range of a sliding Jhon Pirez at the back post.
The Roughnecks had another chance just five minutes later when Michael Gamble was taken down outside the penalty area, inside the arc. Vukovic took the free kick, but his left-footed effort flew just over the crossbar.
After the break, Joaquin Rivas came close for Tulsa in the 56th minute but his shot from distance on the left wing hit the side netting.
As the heat and humidity started to have an impact on the two teams, the game began to open up.
In the 74th minute, the Toros sent on substitute Jesus Enriquez, and he had an immediate impact. After a giveaway by the Roughnecks in midfield, Bryce Marion attacked down the right side and sent a low cross into the center of the box that found an unmarked Enriquez. The substitute, with his first touch of the night, left Cerda with no chance by placing his shot into the far corner of the net to put the Toros in front.
The Roughnecks responded quickly. Just over a minute later, a pass from Gamble found substitute Jesus Ferreira who re-directed the ball to Paris Gee. In one-on-one on the keeper, Gee made no mistake, firing a low shot into the net to level the score at 1-1. It was Gee’s third goal of the season and his second in the past three games.
Gee’s goal allowed the Roughnecks to stay unbeaten all-time at Rio Grande Valley. In three trips to Edinburg, TRFC has one win and two draws.
The Roughnecks will continue their stretch of three straight away matches next Saturday, July 14 with a second meeting with Saint Louis FC. STLFC claimed a 3-0 win in Tulsa back on June 9. Kickoff in St. Louis is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CDT.
The next home match is scheduled for Saturday, July 28 when Fresno FC makes its first-ever visit to ONEOK Field.
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros 1 – Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1
July 7, 2018
H-E-B Park – Edinburg, Texas
RGV – Enriquez (Marion) 75’
TUL – Gee (Ferreira) 77’
TUL – Ferreira (caution) 74’
RGV – Sullivan (caution) 83’
TUL – Pirez (caution) 85’
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros: Nico Corti, Conor Donovan, Omar Ontiveros, Kai Greene, Sheldon Sullivan, Nicolas Perea (Jorginho James 87’), Todd Wharton ©, Pablo Aguilar (Jesus Enriquez 74’), Aldo Quintanilla, Wilmer Cabrera (Bryce Marion 65’), Matias Zaldivar.
Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 1; Fouls: 7; Corners: 5; Offside: 1.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda, Nemanja Vukovic, Claudio Munoz, Francisco Ugarte ©, Josh Morton, Eto Tavares (Jesus Ferreira 70’), Michael Gamble, Paris Gee, Joaquin Rivas, Jonathan Levin (Brandon Servania 60’), Jhon Pirez.
Shots: 10; Shots on Goal: 2; Saves: 5; Fouls: 10; Corners: 3; Offsides: 1.