PHOENIX–The Tulsa Roughnecks FC winless run continued Saturday night in Arizona with a 3-0 loss to the Phoenix Rising FC. The match was decided in the first 45 minutes as Rising FC netted a pair of goals, and Jhon Pirez left the Roughnecks shorthanded with a pair of yellow cards.
The result left TRFC with seven points on the season with a 0-7-7 record.
The Roughnecks opened the match positively, controlling the ball through much of the first ten minutes, even putting the ball in the net, but, Paris Gee’s header was properly ruled to have come from an offside position.
Phoenix started to take more of the possession, and forced TRFC goalkeeper Fabian Cerda into action in the 26th minute when he saved an effort from Gladson Awako.
One of the key plays of the first half occurred in the 29th minute, when TRFC striker Pirez inexplicably reached out with his hand and kept Phoenix goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski from executing an outlet throw. The ill-advised move earned Pirez a yellow card which would prove even more costly later in the half.
Rising FC took the lead in the 39th minute through a strike from Chris Cortez.
It took Phoenix just three minutes to double its lead. After Ivan Mirkovic lost possession for TRFC, a cross from Amadou Dia picked out Jason Johnson at the top of the penalty area. Johnson struck a spectacular full-volleyed shot that left Cerda with no chance, giving Rising FC a 2-0 lead.
Any hopes for the Roughnecks were seriously damaged when they were reduced to 10 men in first-half stoppage time as Pirez was issued a second yellow card for a sliding challenge on Woszcynski.
Phoenix capped its big victory when Kevaughn Frater closed out the scoring with a finish from close range in the 89th minute.
Cerda did well to limit Phoenix to the three goals. The TRFC keeper was left alone on several occasions and came up big to keep the score line at 3-0. He was officially credited with nine saves.
Jon Bakero made his second appearance of the season for the Roughnecks, on loan from the Chicago Fire. The Fire’s first choice in the 2018 MLS Super Draft played the first 67 minutes of the match.
Christian Thierjung made his first appearance of 2018 for the Roughnecks. The forward was acquired from Reno 1868 FC earlier this week and replaced Bakero in the second half.
The Roughnecks will return to action in one week when they make a second straight trip out west for a rematch with Orange County SC. on Saturday. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 9 p.m. CST.