TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Roughnecks FC moved back into second place in the USL Championship’s Western Conference on Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at ONEOK Field. Here are three takeaways from the Roughnecks’ victory.
AJEAKWA GETS HIS MOMENT: Both of the Roughnecks’ goals on the night came from Rodrigo da Costa, who is making a very nice case for himself as one of the newcomers of the season so far with three goals and five assists already this campaign, but the night ended up at least partially belonged to A.J. Ajeakwa as he helped his new club to a solid victory. The game was scoreless when former Switchbacks player Ajeakwa came on as a 63rd-minute substitute and it only took him five minutes to make an impact as he set up da Costa for a good turning shot that broke the deadlock. It doesn’t happen every time, but as soon as Ajeakwa entered the game you figured he’d be eager to make an impact after his offseason departure from Colorado Springs. The 26-year-old managed just that and gave his current side an important boost in the process.
SWITCHBACKS COME UP EMPTY: Colorado Springs had a massive chance to grab an early lead when Andre Shinyashiki got in on a breakaway in the seventh minute only to be denied by an outstanding save from Roughnecks goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar. Unfortunately that was about as good as it got for the visitors, who while registering four shot on goal just didn’t seem to get enough attacking penetration to pose Stajduhar many major problems after their first chance of the game. Only three of the Switchbacks’ eight shots came from inside the penalty area, and none of the key passes logged by Opta ended in the penalty area as the visitors registered only 15 touches inside the Roughnecks’ penalty area overall. Colorado Springs is now winless in its last five games (0-3-2) and in real need of a response when it gets back to action on May 4 against El Paso Locomotive FC at Weidner Field.
SINGLE-SEASON TURNAROUND: It might not be too early to say this; the Roughnecks are having a season that is reminiscent of the 2017 season that saw the side go from a last-place finish in the Western Conference the year before to a place in the USL Cup Playoffs. Wednesday night saw Tulsa record its fourth win of the season, one more than it posted in the entire 2018 regular season, and the side’s performance against the Switchbacks was a solid one as it ended a two-game losing streak. The timing of getting back in the win column couldn’t have been better, too, with the first Black Gold Derby of the season set for ONEOK Field this Saturday as OKC Energy FC arrives in town. You can expect the banter that has been flying back and forth on social media will only heighten now with the Roughnecks feeling pretty good about their chances of regaining The Wrench from their biggest rival.