Fabian Cerda makes a save off a shot from Sebastian Velasquez in Saturday's 3-2 loss. (S. Taggart/Real Monarchs)
The Tulsa Roughnecks FC staged a valiant comeback Saturday night in Utah to top of the table Real Monarchs SLC, overcoming a two-goal first-half deficit, but fell victim to a late penalty kick in what was a 3-2 loss at Zions Bank Stadium. It was the first-ever loss in Utah for the Roughnecks who had tied in their previous three away matches with the Monarchs.
It was two entirely different halves for the Roughnecks as the fell into a 2-0 hole during the first 45 minutes.
The Monarchs nearly opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Sebastian Velasquez was left open at the edge of the box, but TRFC goalkeeper Fabian Cerda saved the initial shot and punched the rebound out for a corner.
On the ensuing corner, the ball eventually found its way to Vasquez who fired another shot that was re-directed into the back of the net by an unmarked Chandler Hoffman, giving the Monarchs the early 1-0 lead.
Tulsa had a pair of chances to equalize. In the 22nd minute, a right-footed effort from Paris Gee was deflected wide.
The best opportunity came eight minutes later when Josh Morton was left open on a corner, but his header sailed just over the crossbar.
The Monarchs and Hoffman doubled their lead in the 40th minute. The Monarchs captain was left open at the back post and easily headed in a cross from Josh Heard to make it 2-0.
TRFC Head Coach Michael Nsien made two changes at the half that changed the complexion of the match. Mo Adams, making his first Tulsa debut on loan from the Chicago Fire, replaced Alex Covarrubias and D.J. Dean came on for Jhon Pirez.
With the changes, Tulsa controlled much more of the possession after the restart and eventually pulled a goal back in the 55th minute. Paris Gee got free down the right side and fed a cross to Jesus Ferreira. The FC Dallas loanee opened his USL account with a right-footed finish that pulled the Roughnecks to within 2-1.
TRFC nearly equalized in the 71st minute when Brandon Servania’s header from close range flew over the crossbar, and again in the 79th minute when Fereirra’s left-footed effort sailed past the post.
The tying goal eventually came in the 83rd minute courtesy of substitute Eti Tavares. Tavares beat a defender at the edge of the box and calmly placed his shot inside the far post to make it 2-2.
Tulsa’s hopes of taking a point from the leaders disappeared in the 86th minute when Juan Mare got free down the left side and was judged to have been fouled in the box by a sliding Cerda.
Justin Portillo made no mistake on the penalty, burying his shot into the upper corner to give the Monarchs the 3-2 lead.
Tulsa had one final chance when Dean was taken down just outside the penalty area five minutes into stoppage time, but Nemanja Vukovic’s free kick sailed high over the goal.
TRFC played the match without last week's goal scorers, Joaquin Rivas and Michael Gamble, who were unavailable due to minor injuries.
The Roughnecks will continue their stretch of five straight away matches next Saturday, August 25, with the second of three meetings with Saint Louis FC. Kickoff in Missouri is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CDT.
Real Monarchs SLC 3 Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Zions Bank Stadium – Herriman, UT
SLC – Hoffman (Vasquez) 12’
SLC – Hoffman (Heard) 35’
TUL – Fereirra (Gee) 55’
TUL – Tavares 83’
SLC – Portillo (Penalty Kick) 86’
TUL – Covarrubias (caution) 44’
TUL – Del Grecco (caution) 56’
SLC – Plewa (caution) 69’
TUL – Cerda (caution) 85’
SLC – Mare (caution) 90’
Real Monarchs SLC: Adam Grinwis, James Moberg, Andrew Brody, Kalen Ryden, Konrad Plewa, Justin Portillo, Mastanabal Kacher (Rhys Williams 89’), Josh Heard, Sebastian Velasquez (Charlie Adams 25’), Jack Blake, Chandler Hoffman (Juan Mare 82’).
Shots: 21; Shots On-Goal: 9; Saves: 1; Fouls: 14; Corners: 9; Offsides: 3.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda, Nicolás Del Grecco (Eti Tavares 63’), Claudio Munoz©, Josh Morton, Nemanja Vukovic, Brand Servania, Jesus Fereira, Paris Gee, Alex Covarrubias (Mo Adams 46’), Isaac Diaz, Jhon Pirez (D.J. Dean 46’).
Shots: 14; Shots On-Goal: 3; Saves: 6; Fouls: 20; Corners: 9; Offsides: 3.