Photo courtesy Rio Grande Valley FC
EDINBURG, Texas – Tulsa Roughnecks FC scored early in the second half to earn a 1-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park on Saturday night. The game opened slowly, but the Toros almost found the opening goal in the 22nd minute when a shot by Eric Bird went just wide of the left post. The Roughnecks had the better chances in the first half, though, as a cross by Juan Caffa 10 minutes later found Ian Svantesson in the penalty area, only for the forward to send his finish high. Svantesson forced a good save by RGVFC goalkeeper Borja Angoitia a few minutes later, while Caffa and Calistri both had rebound efforts blocked nine minutes before halftime, but the game went to the break scoreless. The Roughnecks took the lead seven minutes into the second half, though, as Jaime Ayala scored his first goal for the club with a good shot into the top-right corner. The Toros almost found an equalizer in the 68th minute when Jose Escalante’s free kick clipped the top of the crossbar, and a low cross by the same man caused some panic in the Roughnecks’ penalty area before being cleared a few minutes later. Joaquin Rivas almost added an insurance goal with eight minutes to go, forcing a good save by Angoitia with a finish from 30 yards, while the Toros’ Ruben Luna had a shot from 25 yard saved, but the Roughnecks held on late to earn a big road victory.
52’ – TUL – Jaime Ayala (Modou Jadama)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After a week off, Tulsa got right back into a solid rhythm in its first road game of the season as it continued to build on the turnaround the club has produced so far this season under Head Coach David Vaudreuil. The Roughnecks were able to build quickly through midfield and find playmaker Juan Caffa in space that allowed him to create chances that could have resulted in at least one goal before the halftime break. When it arrived in the 52nd minute, the opening goal of the game was well deserved as the Roughnecks continued to impress.
2. The goal appeared to spur the Toros into life as they began to create more chances in the final half-hour of the game. Jose Escalante’s free kick clipped off the top of the crossbar, and the winger almost created another chance moments later as the Roughnecks’ defense scrambled to charge down a pair of chances in its penalty area. The Dynamo loanee became far more active, and looked far sharper as the game went on as he tried to find the Toros an equalizer late on.
3. The Roughnecks were able to withstand the pressure thanks to a strong defensive display that saw Tulsa limit the Toros’ clear looks on goal throughout the contest. The duo of Francisco Ugarte and Jorge Luis Corrales both distributed the ball well when necessarily, but were also strong in their challenges on the ground as they both won the majority of their duels, and combined for five tackles and five interceptions as the Roughnecks earned a second shutout against the Toros this season.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jaime Ayala, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Ayala scored the only goal of the game to allow the Roughnecks to take a second victory against the Toros this season in their first road game of the season.
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. OKC Energy FC – April 29, 8:30 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park
Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – May 5, 9 p.m. ET, Weidner Field