COLORADO SPRINGS, Col.– The Tulsa Roughnecks FC was looking for its first win away from ONEOK Field Saturday night in Colorado Springs, and Joaquin Rivas provided the perfect start with a 19th minute goal, but it was not enough as the Switchbacks scored three straight goals and eventually recorded a 4-2 victory.
It was the first loss for the Roughnecks under new head coach Michael Nsien. TRFC is now 1-1-2 with Nsien in charge. With the victory, the Switchbacks moved into the eighth and final playoff spot in the USL’s Western Conference with 28 points from 22 matches. Tulsa remained on 12 points through 19 matches.
The night began positively for the Roughnecks who held most of the possession through the early minutes of the match. Tulsa produced the first real chance of the night in the 13t h minute when Nemanja Vukovic was left in space outside the penalty area and fired a left-footed shot that Colorado Springs goalkeeper Steward Ceus tipped over the crossbar.
The pressure from TRFC continued, and it produced the first goal of the match in the 19th minute. A pass from Paris Gee led Rivas into space and into a one-on-one opportunity with Ceus. Tulsa’s leading goal scorer made no mistake, calmly delivering a left-footed finished into the net to give the Roughnecks the initial 1-0 lead.
A promising half fell apart in the final five minutes. In the 40th minute, a long pass got over the head of defender Josh Morton and fell onto the foot of Josh Suggs. Suggs delivered a cross in front of goal to Martin Maybin who slid his shot into the goal to level the score at 1-1.
Four minutes later, the Switchbacks produced a second goal when Ivan Mirkovic was deemed to have held Saeed Robinson in the box. Jordan Burt converted the ensuing penalty kick, sending the two teams to the break with the Switchbacks holding a 2-1 lead.
The second half began much like the first, with Tulsa controlling much of the play. Claudio Munoz headed a corner kick cross wide of goal just one minute into the half.
TRFC had another great chance of an equalizer in the 54th minute when Eti Tavares found an open Rivas in front of goal, but his shot from 16 yards was deflected just inches wide of the post by Ceus.
The match turned in the 70th minute when Maybin collected his second goal of the night for the Switchbacks, giving Colorado Springs the critical two-goal lead.
Newcomer Isaac Diaz made a quick contribution for the Roughnecks in the 79th minute when his header from the top of the box on a clearance settled into the net. The goal was ruled to have deflected off Ceus and was officially credited as an own goal.
The Switchbacks picked up the game-clinching goal in the 87th minute when Robinson beat substitute Adrian Jusino to a loose ball and set up Shane Malcolm for an easy finish in front of goal to give Colorado Springs the 4-2 lead.
Tulsa held 58 percent of the possession in the match.
The Roughnecks will now prepare for their first home match of July when they return to action next Saturday at ONEOK Field. The Roughnecks will host Fresno FC, and it will be Vamos Tulsa Scarf Night. Kickoff in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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