Image: Jonathan Check, Pitch Black News
San Antonio FC lost in heartbreaking fashion to Tulsa Roughnecks FC in the third round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday. Tulsa won 7-6 on penalty kicks after neither side could score in regulation.
SAFC defender Cyprian Hedrick got his first start for SAFC since March 26 at Rio Grande Valley FC, the first match of the season. He and the back line were generally at full strength while SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell rotated the squad more farther up the pitch.
“It’s evident that we’re a team that prides itself on shutouts and it’s something that we’ve had success with and something we’ll aim to continue to do,” Hedrick said. “For us to have gone 120 minutes without conceding was a positive sign.”
Tulsa was the more aggressive side to start the match, but SAFC repelled their attacks and got more themselves as the first half wore on.
SAFC’s first proper chance came in the 15th minute after play built up on the left side of the field. A ball bounced to forward Aly Alberto Hassan at the top of the box, but he mistimed his shot and the chance fizzled out.
SAFC midfielder Maxi Rodriguez had another chance inside the box in the 36th minute, but he volleyed off target after controlling the ball with his chest. Just a minute later, midfielder Rafa Castillo took a shot from distance which Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda parried, and Shawn Chin sent his follow-up shot over the goal.
Tulsa’s most dangerous chance of the first half came in the 41st minute after Castillo lost possession for SAFC. Tulsa pounced and moved forward quickly, but SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo saved their eventual shot.
SAFC got a chance shortly after halftime as Rodriguez again brought a ball down and forced Cerda to tip his shot over for a corner kick.
Tulsa began to gain more control of the match though and tested SAFC’s battle-worn 2017 defense more often as the match wore on. They had a pair of handball claims in the 64th and 67th minutes which the referee turned down.
The standard 90 minutes expired before the sides battled back and forth and traded chances in extra time, both showing signs of fatigue. Ultimately, neither team managed to breach the other’s defense before the lottery of penalty kicks arrived.
SAFC was handed the advantage in penalty kicks as Pasha Kondrakhin sent Tulsa’s third kick off the crossbar, but Cerda saved SAFC’s fourth, taken by Mark O’Ojong. The sides scored back and forth for a few rounds before Restrepo’s penalty kick was saved by his opposite number, sending Tulsa and their fans into celebrations.
The loss is SAFC’s first of 2017 in all competitions. They also fell just short of the opportunity to host FC Dallas in the fourth round of the competition on June 14. One silver lining: they’re free to focus on a United Soccer League campaign which has started so well for them.
“Our job now is to get recovered and rested so that we’re ready to face Swope Park Rangers again for the second time in the span of a week,” Powell said.
SAFC Penalty Kicks: Castillo – scored, Araujo – scored, Vega – scored, O’Ojong – saved, Hassan – scored, Ajeakwa – scored, Newnam – scored, Restrepo – saved
SAFC Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Diego Restrepo; Ben Newnam, Sebastien Ibeagha, Cyprian Hedrick, Greg Cochrane; Mark O’Ojong, Rafa Castillo(c); Shawn Chin (Victor Araujo 82’), Maxi Rodriguez (Devin Vega 54’), Billy Forbes (Akwafei Ajeakwa 68’); Aly Alberto Hassan
Substitutes not used: Johnston, Roushandel, Niño
SAFC Discipline: Shawn Chin (yellow card, 32nd minute), Ben Newnam (yellow card, 92nd minute), Devin Vega (yellow card, 120th minute)