USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Thursday, March 3, 2016
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Led by Sammy Ochoa’s two goals, Tulsa Roughnecks FC continued its strong start to the preseason Thursday with a 3-2 victory against Jacksonville Armada. Cristian Mata also contributed a goal for the Roughnecks.
Tulsa improved to 2-0-1 this preseason as the win came just a day after a group of players were injured in a car accident.
“It was a great performance after the events of yesterday,” said Roughnecks Head Coach David Irving. “It was a good result against a very good side. We were limited to only 14 available players with trialists, but we had a number of chances.”
Ochoa opened the scoring just nine minutes into the match, taking a feed from Brady Ballew and beating Armada goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo to stake the Roughnecks to a 1-0 lead.
It would be the lone goal of the first half, but it did not take Mata long to double the Roughnecks lead in the second half. With service provided by Taylor Morgan, Mata found the back of the net for the second time in the preseason in the 49th minute to give Tulsa a 2-0 lead.
Jacksonville answered five minutes later as Pascal Millien beat Tulsa goalkeeper Alex Mangels, who came on in the second half in place of Jake Feener, with a low, left-footed shot to make it 2-1.
The Armada kept the pressure on for the next few minutes before the Roughnecks started to push forward again. The pressure paid off when the duo of Ballew and Ochoa hooked up again in the 63rd minute. Ochoa headed home a cross from Ballew for his second goal of the match and his team-leading fourth of the preseason to put the Roughnecks up 3-1.
“Sammy has worked hard during the offseason, and it is paying dividends for him,” Irving said. “He has got the bit between his teeth and his finishing his chances. I’ve made him captain for the games down here, and he is taking the leadership role to heart.”
It was the third assist for Ballew and all three have come on goals from Ochoa.
Jacksonville pulled back within one goal in the 73rd minute. Cameroonian International Charles Eloundou beat the Tulsa defense to make it 3-2.
The goal upped the intensity of the match as the Armada pushed forward for an equalizer, and the shorthanded Roughnecks fought to protect their lead. In the end, Eloundou’s strike would prove to be the final goal in the match as Tulsa held on for the one-goal victory.