It’s been a season of highs and lows for Arizona United, and their game against Tulsa Roughnecks last night might have been one of their lowest points yet.
“I wouldn’t say (it was) the worst performance (of the year), but the result yeah,” Arizona United head coach Frank Yallop said. “Just not an even game. It’s just frustrating. Thought we did enough to get at least a tie. We keep doing the same mistakes over and over again and we can’t keep doing that. So it’s just frustrating right now.”
United started off poorly and were punished when defender Julian Ringhof’s miscued header landed to Tulsa forward Cristian Mata, who chipped keeper Carl Woszczynski to give the Roughnecks a 1-0 lead.
“We shouldn’t give stupid goals away,” Yallop said. “ I mean we are three minutes into the match and I don’t even know what happened, just indecision and the easiest chances in the world to score.”
United did have the better possession in the first half, but were unable to break down the Roughnecks defense. Ringhof had a chance on a loose ball, but skied his shot over, while forward Long Tan headed straight at Tulsa keeper Alex Mangels.
United did start off the 2nd half the better side, as midfielder Luke Rooney tested Mangels with a shot from 18 yards out.
United’s defense almost got caught again, as a last-ditch tackle from Matheus Silva blocked Jasson Ramos Carpio’s shot, and the header by Iarfhlaith Davoren from the ensuing corner was cleared off the line by Blair Gavin.
United finally found their breakthrough in the 62nd minute as some nice play from Rooney and Tyler Blackwood found defender Adam West whose cross was deflected in for an own goal.
Moments later United were caught out on defense again when Mata beat the offside trap and chipped Woszczynski a second time, but defender Daniel Antunez cleared.
Tulsa then had a goal ruled out for offside after initially being given. Mata had beaten the trap and scored, but after a meeting between the officials it was ruled that he was offside.
United nearly took the lead through forward Chris Cortez’s shot from distance, but Mangels did well to save.
Yallop then sent on Sam Garza for Cortez and Uchenna Uzo for Blackwood to try to get a goal late on.
“I was nowhere near as good as I needed to be,” Blackwood said. “Too many times I gave the ball away. Didn’t keep possession. There were only a couple of times where I felt that I had done something positive and it was too late to the game. I know why I got taken off.”
Garza almost made an immediate impact as his ball over the top found Tan, but the forward was unable to control it and his shot went well wide.
United were broken down again in stoppage time and finally conceded the winner. A quick counter by Tulsa and another mix-up in defense allowed Mata to slot home for his brace and give the Roughnecks the 2-1 win.
“To be honest it doesn’t matter what position in the league they are (in),” Yallop said. “We aren’t good enough to win games at certain times. We beat Real Monarchs who are a very good team, so it doesn’t matter who you play.”
United will look to rebound from this loss when they face Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Wednesday. It will be their first of two games next week.
“It’s so tough going from a 3-0 win, where you play the best game of the season, to one of the worst performances,” Blackwood said. “You literally have to put it behind you because if you dwell on that, we’ll lose Wednesday. We have to forget about it tomorrow and focus on Vancouver.”