Image: Lori Scholl, Tulsa Roughnecks FC
In their last away match of the regular season in 2017, San Antonio FC defeated Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-0 at ONEOK Field on Saturday night.
SAFC came into the match off two straight losses, to Swope Park Rangers and regional rival Rio Grande Valley FC, which saw them drop to fourth place in the USL Western Conference standings.
“The players came out and had a response after last weekend’s result, and I’m proud of them,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “We earned two goals against a strong Tulsa team and earned a shutout as well, which is important.”
The match was exciting from the opening whistle, with Tulsa grabbing the first serious chance within 60 seconds. Paris Gee nudged the ball forward for fellow midfielder Joaquin Rivas, whose first-time shot went over.
Seven minutes later, SAFC found their first real chance as forward Cesar Elizondo laid the ball off for midfielder Billy Forbes, who cut inside and fired off a shot which was saved by Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda.
The opening stages continued to produce chance after chance before the match calmed down in the middle of the first half. As halftime drew close, both sides pressed harder again, seeking an opening goal, but neither managed that feat.
The second half ebbed and flowed but continued to lack goals until the 70th minute. SAFC midfielder Michael Reed swung in a corner which stand-in defender Mark O’Ojong headed into the back of the net.
Tulsa pushed more for their equalizer but their efforts ended up backfiring as the deficit doubled in the 88th minute. An SAFC counter ended with Forbes bringing down a cross from midfielder Owayne Gordon and sliding it past Cerda into the net.
“This is a big three points for us and now we get to finish out the season with three games at home, which is where we want to be,” O’Ojong said.
While a loss could’ve seen SAFC slide into fifth place, they nearly jumped into third at the end of the night. However, Swope rescued a draw against RGVFC in second-half stoppage time to stay level on points with SAFC, who have one fewer match played, and ahead based on total wins.
SAFC will close out the regular season with three home matches in eight days Oct. 7-14. One of those, Oct. 11 against Portland Timbers 2, is a match originally scheduled for Aug. 26 but postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.
SAFC Starting XI (4-4-2): Diego Restrepo; Mark O’Ojong, Cyprian Hedrick, Ryan Roushandel, Greg Cochrane; Owayne Gordon, Michael Reed(c), Pecka (Victor Araujo 90+1’), Billy Forbes (Connor Presley 90+3’); Cesar Elizondo, Ever Guzman
Substitutes not used: Johnston, Ibeagha, Moullin, Tyrpak, Seth
SAFC Discipline: Pecka (yellow card, 43rd minute – fifth of the season), Diego Restrepo (yellow card, 45th minute – third of the season), Michael Reed (yellow card, 58th minute – third of the season), Billy Forbes (yellow card, 81st minute – second of the season)