Image; Tulsa Roughnecks FC
San Antonio FC’ lost to Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-1 on Saturday night at ONEOK Field, their first ever outright loss to the Oklahoma club in eight competitive matches.
“We played a good game and didn’t get the points we wanted, and now we’re facing another match on the road in which we want to get a result, so we need to lift up as a team so we head into it with the right mindset,” said SAFC defender Cesar Elizondo, who made his first appearance since July 25.
SAFC stuck with a mostly familiar lineup. Omar Gordon returned to the starting lineup on the right wing after playing for the Jamaican national team on Sept. 7 and 9, while Elizondo went straight back into the starting lineup coming off his injury.
SAFC began on the back foot but still managed to open the scoring in the 19th minute, aided by a Tulsa goalkeeping gaffe. Fabian Cerda came off his line to snuff out a chance but failed to hold onto the ball, allowing it to roll to Elizondo at the top of the box where he placed it in the far bottom corner.
Tulsa continued to test the SAFC defense though and was handed the opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot. SAFC defender Moises Hernandez extended his leg but failed to connect with the ball and brought down Tulsa defender Paris Gee inside the box in the 36th minute, then Nermanja Vukovic sent SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone the wrong way a minute later to level the score.
Tulsa brought the energy into the second half and scored the decisive goal in the 57th minute off a counterattack which caught the SAFC defense slightly scrambled. After a few passes upfield, forward Jesus Ferreira’s clever footwork unlocked the SAFC defense before he squared the ball to midfielder Eli Tavares, who blasted it back across goal and in to put all three points in Tulsa’s hands.
While Tulsa should be applauded for going at SAFC and making the most of their chances, the hosts’ defense in particular deserves praise as they fended off SAFC’s efforts to claw back a result. At full time, SAFC held 55.5 percent of possession, sent in 20 crosses to Tulsa’s seven and outshot the home side 14-7, but their efforts were negated by Tulsa’s 26 clearances, more than double what SAFC got.
“We had a lot of good chances to win this game tonight, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” Cardone said. “We know we have two tough games ahead of us and now we have to come together as a team and step up to get points in the next two games.”
SAFC will next travel to Kansas City to take on the Swope Park Rangers at Children’s Mercy Park on Wednesday. That match and the next against Saint Louis FC are important not only in terms of SAFC cementing a playoff spot but also determining their placement.