Roughnecks dominant in season opener

TULSA, OK—Match #1 of the David Vaudreil era is in the books as the Tulsa Roughnecks FC began their third season of USL play by dominating Colorado Switchbacks FC 4-1 in front of 4,952 fans at a cold, blustery ONEOK Field on Saturday night.

Two goals from forward Ian Svantesson and a goal each from Juan Pablo Caffa and Francisco Ugarte led Tulsa to it’s first win since last summer in a victory that was decisive and dominant.

Colorado got on the board first with their only goal of the match that came from forward Shane Malcolm in the game’s 17th minute.  Malcolm sent a shot on the ground that took an odd carom just past the outstretched arms of Roughnecks goalkeeper Bryan Byars and off the right post to give the visitors the early lead.

The Roughnecks got the equalizer six minutes later on a Juan Pablo Caffa free kick.  Caffa wrapped the ball around the left goal post with a left footed shot past Colorado goalie Justin Luthy to knot the score at 1-1.

Ian Svantesson (19) leaps into the ONEOK Field Terrace after one of his two goals Saturday night.

In the 32nd minute of the match the Roughnecks brand new alliance with the MLS’ Chicago Fire proved it’s worth when Joey Callistri found 6’6” forward Ian Svantesson for a go ahead goal.  Callistri is one of three players on the roster who are on loan from the Fire along with defender Matej Dekovic and midfielder Colin Fernandez.

Shortly after halftime Svantesson scored again, this time after Luthy misplayed a clearing attempt in the Switchbacks penalty area. 

Francisco Ugarte put the icing on the cake in the 77th minute of the match when he knocked in a free kick cross to give the Tulsa Roughnecks FC their third consecutive opening night victory.

A jubilant Francisco Ugarte smiles after his goal on Saturday night at ONEOK Field.

Roughnecks head coach David Vaudreil was very happy with his club’s first game that counted in the 2017 USL campaign.

“We were a little unlucky to fall behind, but we responded very well,” Vaudreuil said. “We took the 2-1 lead into the locker room and we told the guys it was still all there to play for and we have to go out and win the half.”

“I am very happy the guys got rewarded for their good play,” he said. “It was four very nice goals and we managed the game very well.”

The Roughnecks will have a week off to prepare for the Rio Grande Valley Toros, who will visit ONEOK Field next Saturday.