The early goal bug bit Phoenix Rising FC again Saturday night at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Okla. and this time it cost them.
A 14th minute goal by Ian Svantesson off a Juan Pablo Caffa corner gave Tulsa Roughnecks FC the early lead en route to a 3-0 victory over Phoenix Rising FC, ending Phoenix Rising’s six-match unbeaten streak.
Phoenix Rising had a couple chances early in the match by Didier Drogba. In the 11th minute, Drogba threw a cross from the right across the face of goal, but no one was on the back post. Three minutes later, Drogba’s free kick curled just wide, leading to Tulsa’s first goal.
Tulsa’s goal came off a rush in which defender Victor Vasquez bailed out Josh Cohen, who came out to challenge a Tulsa shot that went out for a corner. Svantesson out-jumped Peter Ramage on the corner kick and headed the ball past Cohen for the 1-0 lead.
Drogba tried to answer right back for Phoenix Rising, but his free kick found Ramage at the back post, but his header went just wide of the net. Four minutes later, Drogba had a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box and curled it over the wall, but Fabian Cerda came up with a big save to keep the game at 1-0.
Tulsa doubled its lead right at the end of the first half. A failed clearance by Kody Wakasa and Miguel Timm fell to the feet of Jacori Hayes, who drilled the ball past Cohen for a 2-0 lead.
Phoenix Rising coach Patrice Carteron decided to make two changes starting the second half. Shaun Wright-Phillips came on in the midfield for Timm, and Jason Johnson came on for Matthew Hurlow-Paonessa.
Johnson tried to interject himself into the match right away, but his first shot went right over the top. A minute later, Waskasa hit a low cross into the box that was cleared away by Cerda.
Drogba had two more chances following that. His free kick in the 49th minute hit the wall, and two minutes later a free kick from the right corner was punched away by Cerda.
Tulsa almost went up 3-0 in the 58th minute when Svantesson almost had a brace, when he beat Ramage inside the box and hit a low shot to Cohen’s left, but the ball hit off the post.
Wright-Phillips tried to put Phoenix Rising on the board with a shot, but Cerda was up to the challenge and knocked it out for a corner.
Phoenix Rising used its final sub in the 66th minute, when A.J. Gray came on for Vasquez.
Johnson had another chance in the 73rd minute, but his shot on the short side was off-target.
Tulsa put the nail in the coffin in the 86th minute, when substitute Christian Thierjung drilled a ball past Cohen on his right for a 3-0 lead.
Phoenix Rising FC returns home for a Saturday, July 29 match against one of the Western Conference’s top teams in San Antonio FC. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.