It took 120 minutes and eight rounds of penalty kicks on Wednesday night, but Tulsa Roughnecks FC managed to sneak past visiting San Antonio FC in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Tulsa prevailed 7-6 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless match at the University of Tulsa that featured only three shots on goal in regulation.
The home side secured its first US Open Cup victory over another professional team when goalkeeper Fabian Cerda denied his opposite number, San Antonio’s Diego Restrepo, in the eighth round of the shootout.
Tulsa coach David Vaudreuil said his team, which featured some players hampered by a flu bug, hasn’t practiced penalty kicks regularly.
“We only did a little bit yesterday. I wanted to see how the guys did them and where they put the shots,” said Vaudreuil, who won the US Open Cup as a member of D.C. United in 1996. “It’s not realistic to practice them for a game situation.”
That practice paid off for the Roughnecks, who were successful in seven of their eight penalty kicks.
Cerda kept Tulsa in the shootout by denying San Antonio’s Mark O’Ojong one round after Roughnecks teammate Pasha Kondrakhin skied his shot over the crossbar. He saved Restrepo’s shot in the eighth round to propel Tulsa into the next round and a June 14 match at MLS side FC Dallas.
Vaudreuil said the Roughnecks weren’t able to press as much as they would have liked after a difficult stretch of games, but they tried to maintain possession against San Antonio.
Both teams had chances in the first half, but were unable to convert.
Tulsa was denied a penalty kick on two occasions in the second half, once on a potential handball on Sebastien Ibeagha in the 64th minute and again three minutes later when Joey Calistri was knocked down in the box.
San Antonio has its best chance in overtime, when Victor Araujo saw his shot from the top of the box saved by Cerda.
Defense dominated the added 30 minutes, setting the stage for Tulsa’s dramatic victory in penalty kicks.
With the win, Tulsa will move on to the Fourth Round for the first time where they will face the defending champions from FC Dallas on the road. The game is scheduled for June 14.