EDINBURG, Texas – Rodrigo da Costa scored both goals for FC Tulsa as the visitors took a 2-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Friday night at H-E-B Park, keeping Tulsa’s undefeated record in six visits to South Texas in the all-time series between the clubs.
The Toros tried to set the early tempo and went close to opening the scoring in the eighth minute as Rodrigo Lopez received possession in space 30 yards from goal and fired a shot that forced a good save by Tulsa’s Austin Wormell. Six minutes later Wormell was in action again as a corner kick by Lopez from the right found Erik Pimentel for a header at the back post that the experienced defender put on frame, but without the purchase it needed to beat the goalkeeper.
Tulsa took the lead on its first big look at goal, though, as Rodrigo da Costa bagged his fourth goal of the season in the 22nd minute. The Brazilian began the play, connecting quickly on the right in midfield with Marlon before switching the play to the left for Dario Suarez. The Cuban moved centrally as Da Costa continued his run forward, allowing Suarez to play a reverse pass into the left side of the penalty area that Da Costa fired low into the right corner of the net.
Wan Kuzain tried to find an equalizer for RGVFC 10 minutes before the halftime break with a shot from distance that went just wide of the right post, while Christian Sorto also went close with a curling effort from the top of the penalty area early in the second half. After the Toros had built up a spell of pressure, however, the visitors struck again to double their lead on the hour-mark as Suarez controlled just inside the top of the penalty area before laying off a pass to Kembo Kibato, who picked out Da Costa in the left side of the penalty area for a low shot that tucked just inside the right post for his second of the night.
Rio Grande Valley went close to pulling a goal back with 13 minutes to go as the ball came to Vicente Sanchez just inside the top of the penalty area after deflecting off a defender, and the veteran curled a turning left-footed shot just over the top-left corner of the net. The visitors were then reduced to 10 men as Kibato received his second yellow card in the 78th minute before Sanchez went close again on a free kick from 20 yards that he tried to curl around the defensive wall, only for the effort to be turned wide by Wormell for a corner that came to naught.
The Toros pressure finally paid off in the second minute of stoppage time as Baboucarr Njie took a flicked header by Sanchez at the top-right edge of the penalty area and fired a low shot home at the near post to finally get past Wormell. There would be no late equalizer for the hosts, though, as Tulsa picked up its fifth victory of the season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Rodrigo da Costa, FC Tulsa – The Brazilian bagged both goals for the visitors in excellent fashion and worked hard off the ball as well, winning 8 of 13 duels and 4 of 4 tackles defensively to help Tulsa see out a good road win.
TUL – Rodrigo da Costa (Dario Suarez) 22’
TUL – Rodrigo da Costa (Kembo Kibato) 60’
RGV - Baboucarr Njie (Vicente Sanchez) 90+2’