TULSA, OK—Winning decisively against a quality opponent is always a good thing, but doing it twice in three nights is so much better, as the Tulsa Roughnecks FC handed the Orange County SC a 4-0 loss in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 4,119 at ONEOK Field on Saturday night.
One again, the one-two punch of Ian Svantesson and Juan Pablo Caffa made a huge difference for the Roughnecks on the score sheet, with Svantesson once again turning in a “brace” (two goals), his second in as many games.
It also gifted Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda with his second clean sheet (shutout) of the 2017 season, his other being a 1-nil decision in Rio Grande on April 22nd.
In addition, the victory gives TRFC 12 points on the season and moves them into one of the top eight spots in the USL’s Western Conference.
Orange County dominated the possession in the early part of the match, but little by little the Roughnecks started generating chances to score.
The first goal of the game came after Brady Ballew was taken down on a breakaway just off the arc of the penalty area. That resulted in a free kick that was handled by Caffa.
The 32-year old Argentinean then inserted the ball into the corner of the Orange County net in an almost identical manner as he did in Thursday night’s first goal against Vancouver. Just three minutes later, Svantesson scored the first of his two goals. The big striker made no mistake, putting his right-footed shot past the keeper to giving TRFC a 2-0 lead they would take into halftime.
The Roughnecks third goal of the match came in the 79th minute, when Caffa saw Joey Callistri open on the right side of the pitch and sent a long pass his way. Callistri, one of four players on loan from the Roughnecks MLS affiliate Chicago, scooped up the pass and raced in on the OC net.
From there Callistri chipped the ball over the keeper to give the home side a commanding 3-nil advantage. Svantesson then completed his “brace” when Ballew found him with a crossing pass from the right side of the penalty area. Svantesson then punched the ball past the keeper for the final goal of the match.
When the whistle finally blew at the conclusion of the match, the Roughnecks had their second victory in three nights and in a three-way tie for fifth place in the USL Western Conference standings.
Two goals on the night, and four for the two game set was great for Svantesson, who also had a large contingent of family and friends visiting Tulsa to watch him play. “It was great timing for my family, and they were here Thursday too,” said Svantesson.
The forward likes where the TRFC team is at after the busy week. “This squad has great camaraderie and, now that we have had a chance to be together, things are starting to click. This week was a great test, and we showed pretty well.”
It’s a sentiment that his coach shares in his comments after the match.
“Very excited that we won both games,” TRFC Head Coach David Vaudreuil said, “I felt confident going into these two games and it felt good to see the guys knock the ball around and get some great goals.
“We said these games were very important and two wins would put us up in the table and more where we should be, and that’s what we got.” he said, “It took us awhile to get going, but a great goal to open got us going and the game just kept getting better and better for us.”
Up next for the Roughnecks is a game with the OKC Energy Under-23 team in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. They will begin play in the second round Wednesday night by hosting the OKC Energy U-23 team at the University of Tulsa Soccer and Track Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
They’ll be in action in USL League play on the road in Sacramento on May 20th and in Reno on May 24th before returning to the home grounds of ONEOK Field to take on Portland Timbers 2 at 7pm on May 27th.