We scout the Tulsa Roughnecks ahead of their second match-up with the Swope Park Rangers this season.
The Swope Park Rangers next test will be against a familiar foe in the Tulsa Roughnecks. The Rangers will take on the Roughnecks at 7:00 pm at Children’s Mercy Victory Field. For this scouting update I actually spoke with a Roger Graham, a supporter of the Roughnecks and also a contributor to tulsaroustabouts.com.
I will reference our conversation in this update of the Roughnecks to not only give you my opinion, but also the opinion of a supporter of the team. Also if you did not see our first scouting report I strongly encourage you to check it out.
When I asked Roger about what has led to the Roughnecks slow start, he put it simply that as of late that they’ve struggled to score goals. The stats really reflect this too. In their first five games the Roughnecks averaged only 0.6 of a goal per game. Like Roger said they have scored more recently and this has come primarily from Sammy Ochoa. The former Seattle Sounder has scored two goals in both of the past two games for the Roughnecks, and was even named to the USL Team of the Week after their game against Seattle Sounders 2.
Another player that finally has ended his own scoring drought is Pakistanian Kaleemullah Kahn, or as it says on his jersey simply “Kaleem”. Kaleem scored 72 goals in 94 appearances during his time in the Pakistan Premier League before moving to USL, and I think many of the Tulsa supporters would love to see some of this production in Roughneck orange. Roger also commented that the Roughnecks’ midfield seems to be finally clicking together. He said they have been doing a better job of distributing to attacking players, and also winning the ball from the opposing center mids.
Roger did admit with three new starters on the back line, that the defense has struggled at times. He did comment though that they have been a bright spot for this team. I would have to agree that they do a pretty good job of staying compact and organized. The Roughnecks do have a tendency to give up late goals, but these usually have come because they are pressing high for a late goal.
The Roughnecks are really struggling with injuries around the team, and not allowing their outside backs to get some rest hasn’t helped them late on in games. I think the comment that also has to be made about a club like the Roughnecks is that they don’t have the luxury of loans that MLS affiliate clubs do. So for a team like the Roughnecks that only have technically six defenders, it becomes very difficult to manage when there are injuries.
In our conversation Roger did mention to me that the “Roustabouts” will be coming to the game in full force on Saturday. I think that the proximity of clubs is one of the great things about USL, and I really admire passionate fans that are willing to make the trek for away games. Roger was also very complementary of how SPR does keep their single day loans to a minimum. Where as some USL clubs with a MLS affiliate loan players down what seems like weekly.
This will be a very hard-fought game by both sides. Both sides are desperately in need of three points, and neither side wants to let down their supporters in this game. My hope is that we see the Rangers get back to their winning ways. Swope have been struggling and are riding a three game losing streak and have gone four games without a win.
The USL Western Conference is very tight still, and with a win this weekend they could jump from 12th to as high as 5th. As always though, if you can’t make it out to Swope Park be sure to catch the game on USL’s YouTube channel.