Image; Jesus Miguel Garcia, Pitch Black News
San Antonio FC found their scoring touch again, defeating Tulsa Roughnecks FC 3-1 Saturday night at Toyota Field.
Although it was the first meeting between the two teams in the United Soccer League, it was their third meeting overall in 2017. The sides drew 1-1 in a preseason friendly on March 11 in San Antonio, then played to a scoreless 120 minutes in the US Open Cup on May 31 before Tulsa won 7-6 on penalty kicks to advance.
“Today, we had a little setback on the (Tulsa) goal and we responded the correct way and it helped us get the win,” SAFC midfielder Kris Tyrpak said.
SAFC snatched the lead just four minutes in after controlling the opening stages of the match. Midfielder Billy Forbes played a ball through for Tyrpak, and although the soon-to-be scorer fell to the ground, he managed to connect with the ball and it rolled past Roughnecks goalkeeper Bryan Byars. SAFC had been held scoreless in three straight matches in all competitions prior to Tyrpak’s goal.
That goal was also the first Forbes was involved in since the April 28 match away to Portland Timbers 2. That was also the last time SAFC scored multiple goals in a single USL match prior to Saturday.
The hosts nearly doubled their lead ten minutes later off a free kick. Ben Newnam served a ball in and fellow defender Cyprian Hedrick redirected it into the net with his head, but the assistant referee flagged Hedrick offside, denying him a goal in his 100th USL cap.
Tulsa had been pushing for an equalizer ever since going down and finally found it in the 27th minute. Defender Matej Dekovic cut the ball back to the center of the 18-yard box, where midfielder Joaquin Rivas slid it precisely into the bottom left corner. The goal ended SAFC’s 672-minute shutout streak in USL play, which dated all the way back to April 25, a 3-2 win at Seattle Sounders FC 2.
“We’re greedy people, defenders,” Hedrick said. “We always want shutouts, so the fact that we weren’t able to get one (is) a little bit of a disappointment there, but it’s just important we got the win.”
SAFC would regain their lead and hold onto it from the 33rd minute onward though, with Tyrpak again providing the finishing touch. Defender Greg Cochrane crossed from the left flank, forward Aly Alberto Hassan flicked the ball on with his head and Tyrpak controlled the ball on his chest before volleying past Byars.
The second half looked more typical for SAFC, sitting back and absorbing pressure from Tulsa with their solid defense while looking for a goal on the counter.
SAFC narrowly missed out on an insurance goal in the 62nd minute. Midfielder Devin Vega passed the ball to Forbes, whose cross into the box was volleyed just wide by Hassan.
SAFC pushed forward again in the 76th minute and this time sealed the win thanks to a fortunate redirection. Vega played the ball to a more central position where midfielder Michael Reed tried to pass it through to Hassan. Tulsa’s defense managed to deflect the pass but it fell right to Vega, who placed it just inside the near post.
“I still think we’ve got some improvement to do and I think that group of players are committed to doing it and that’s what they want to do,” SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell said.
SAFC will play Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Sacramento Republic FC on the road the next two Saturdays before returning home on July 8 to play Club Santos Laguna of Liga MX in a friendly and Oklahoma City Energy FC in USL action July 14.
SAFC Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Diego Restrepo; Ben Newnam, Cyprian Hedrick, Sebastien Ibeagha, Greg Cochrane; Pecka; Kris Tyrpak, Michael Reed(c), Rafa Castillo (Devin Vega 54’), Billy Forbes (Shawn Chin 72’); Aly Alberto Hassan (Mark O’Ojong 79’)
Substitutes not used: Johnston, Roushandel, Rodriguez, Araujo
SAFC Discipline: Kris Tyrpak (yellow card, 36th minute – second of the season)