San Antonio keeper Matt Cardone reacts to take a chance away from Jesus Ferreira. (Rich Crimi)
The Tulsa Roughnecks FC scored a goal in each half to defeat San Antonio FC 2-1 Saturday night at ONEOK Field. The Roughnecks got a first-half penalty kick from Nemanja Vukovic and a second-half strike from Eti Tavares to record the victory.
Front page photo of Michael Gamble & Darnell King by Rich Crimi
It was the first-ever regular season win for Tulsa over San Antonio. The Roughnecks only other regular season result against SAFC came earlier this season with in a 1-1 draw in Texas.
The victory improved Tulsa’s season point total to 20 points with a 3-14-11 record. San Antonio, who only arrived in Tulsa Saturday afternoon after experiencing travel problems, saw its three-match winning streak halted with the defeat, keeping it at 43 points.
The match began sluggishly before San Antonio opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Ever Guzman got behind the TRFC backline and ran onto a pass as TRFC keeper Fabian Cerda charged from the goal. Cerda had his hands on the ball temporarily, before it squirted free. Guzman fed the loose ball to Cesar Elizondo who blasted a right-footed shot into the empty net to make it 1-0.
TRFC nearly had a quick response with an opportunity for a similar goal just four minutes later. San Antonio keeper Matt Cardone was stranded off his line after a rushing out to stop a shot from Jesus Ferreira. The ball bounced to Michael Gamble who dribbled at Cardone at the edge of the penalty area. Gamble took a shot that deflected off Ferreira and rolled toward the open net before being cleared off the goal line by SAFC defender Cyprian Hedrick.
Paris Gee attacks during Saturday's action at ONEOK Field. (Brooke Carroll)
The Roughnecks did find the equalizer later in the first half and it came from the penalty spot. Paris Gee found open space on the right wing and made a long run into the penalty area before being taken down by defender Moises Hernandez. Vukovic stepped to the spot and sent Cardone to the keeper’s right before burying his left-footed shot into the opposite corner of the goal to level the score at 1-1. It was the first goal of the season for the TRFC defender.
The Roughnecks took the lead 12 minutes into the second half. Ferreira made a highlight-reel run from the right side, dribbling around a pair of defenders, before dropping a pass to an unmarked Eti Tavares. Tavares side-footed a shot just out of the reach of Cardone and into the net to give TRFC the 2-1 lead.
San Antonio came close to a second goal in the 61st minute. In a frantic scramble in front of Cerda’s goal, the ball found Gordon whose shot deflected off the hands of the keeper and appeared to be going into the goal, but TRFC defender Claudio Munoz headed the effort off the line to keep the Roughnecks one-goal lead intact.
Another near miss came just five minutes later, but SAFC was denied by the save of the match from Cerda. In the attack, Gordon delivered a perfect low cross that found Lance Laing at the back post. Cerda reacted quickly, moving across the goal to make a sliding save on Laing’s shot from point-blank distance. The Tulsa keeper paid for the save as his head slid into Laing’s leg. He received treatment, but remained in the match.
Nemanja Vukovic and Ivan Mirkovic celebrate Vukovic's second-half penalty kick. (Brooke Carroll)
The chances kept coming, and in the 79th minute, a pass in midfield deflected straight to Gordon who turned and found himself one-on-one with Cerda. The San Antonio striker’s right-footed attempt sailed just wide of the far post.
In the 87th minute, the Roughnecks were forced to make a change in goal when Cerda was still feeling of the effects from his collision with Laing. Chase Gentry, who was making just his fourth appearance of the season, came on for the final minutes.
It would prove to be a hectic finish that included eight-plus minutes of stoppage time. The Roughnecks defended frantically and with numbers in attempt to close out the game.
Substitute Isaac Diaz nearly sealed the win four minutes into added time. The Tulsa midfielder caught Cardone off his line and lofted a shot from just inside the halfway line. The San Antonio keeper scrambled back and just tipped the effort over the bar to keep the outcome still in doubt.
The last five minutes consisted of heavy pressure from SAFC, but the equalizer would not come, giving the Roughnecks their third win of the season.
The Roughnecks have now picked up 13 of their 20 points this season with Michael Nsien as head coach. All three of their wins have come with Nsien in charge.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2 – San Antonio FC 1
September 15, 2018
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
SA – Elizondo (Guzman) 18’
TUL - Vukovic (penalty kick) 37’
TUL – Tavares (Ferreira) 57’
TUL – Mirkovic (caution) 45 +3’
SAN – Gordon (caution) 90+7’
TUL – Uzi Tayou (caution) 90+7’
Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Fabian Cerda (Chase Gentry 87’), Josh Morton, Nemanja Vukovic, Claudio Munoz ©, Paris Gee, Eti Tavares, Joaquin Rivas, Ivan Mirkovic (D.J. Dean 74’), Alex Covarrubias (Isaac Diaz 82’), Michael Gamble, Jesus Ferreira.
Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 3; Fouls: 11; Corners: 2; Offsides: 4.
San Antonio FC: Matt Cardone, Darnell King, Cyprian Hedrick (Charlie Ward 87’), Moises Hernandez, Greg Cochrane©, Omar Gordon, Wellington Pecka (Mike Seth 77’), Mikey Lopez, Lance Laing, Cesar Elizondo (Maxi Rodriguez 58’), Ever Guzman.
Shots: 14; Shots on Goal: 2; Saves: 0; Fouls: 10; Corners: 4; Offsides: 2.