LA Galaxy II will travel to ONEOK Field to play the Tulsa Roughnecks FC this Wednesday, July 24, 2019. It is the second and final USL Championship match-up of the year between the two Western Conference foes. Neither club is having the season they hoped for, as both clubs have double digit negative goal differentials, and are well out of the playoff picture in 15th and 17th places respectively. The conference is one that seems to have a clear cut top 3 teams, and clear cut bottom 4 teams, and a lot of confusion in between. These two clubs are both part of that bottom 4. Los Angeles appears to still be in the hunt in terms of points with 23, but their -11 goal difference and 41 goals allowed speak to them being a step below teams like Orange County SC or Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. These clubs are tied on points with Galaxy II at 23, but each have much better peripheral stats. Tulsa's main issue is similar in that they can't seem to stop anyone from scoring, and have conceded 39 times this season. These totals put both clubs in the bottom 3 in the conference in terms of goals allowed.
Last season the Tulsa Roughnecks finished 17th in the conference, which was dead last. It appears that Tacoma Defiance will be inept enough to save Tulsa from the absolute basement this year, but second to last might be as good as it gets for them this year. Tulsa is actually one of the more storied franchises in U.S. soccer, with a history that dates back to the old NASL of the 1970's and 1980's. That history hasn't helped them any in the modern USL though. In addition to 2018, they also finished dead last in the league in 2016, and they have never finished higher than 7th in the table. LA Galaxy II, in spite of being the reserve team for perhaps the MLS's most storied franchise, have not fared much better. They are on pace for their 3rd consecutive finish of 13th or worse in the conference, and have never finished higher than 5th.
Tulsa Roughnecks VS LA Galaxy II Vital Information
This, and all USL Championship and USL League One matches can be viewed on ESPN Plus in the United States. The match is at 8:30 PM EST on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
Referee assignments have Kevin Broadley as the referee, Truman Berghall and Matt Trotter as the assistants, and Michael Cap as the fourth official.
This will be the 10th meeting all time between LA Galaxy II and the Tulsa Roughnecks. In the previous 9 meetings, LA has won 5 times, Tulsa has won 2, and there have been 2 draws. It was a Los Angeles victory in the most recent of those, 4-2, at LA, back on April 6, 2019. As two of the older franchises in the USL Championship Western Conference, these clubs have met twice each regular season since 2015, but have never met in the playoffs or any other competition.
Five Points That Shouldn’t be Overlooked
On top of their high total of goals allowed this year, Tulsa has struggled even more on offense recently. They have scored just 4 goals in their past 8 games and have been shut out 5 times during that period. Their leading scorer on the season is 20-year-old Brazilian defender Luca Lobo. He has 7 goals this season, but hasn't gotten on the board since April 6, 2019. Their second leading scorer is Rodrigo da Costa with 6 goals on the season. He has scored twice for Tulsa in the past 6 matches, and those are the only goals that they scored in those 6 matches. The last player other than da Costa to score for Tulsa was Janu Silva all the way back on June 1st. Just 7 Tulsa players have scored at least a goal through 19 games in 2019.
LA Galaxy II have the same problem that a lot of "reserve teams" have in the the sense that their roster is in constant flux. With players constantly shuffling back and forth between the USL and MLS sides, interim manger Junior Gonzalez is often left playing a guessing game in terms of who he will have available week to week. To make matters worse, they recently loaned Frank Lopez, who was leading the club in goals with 8 to San Antonio FC. Up front, this seems to leave them lacking for a go to scoring option. Their leading remaining forwards have scored just 3 goals apiece this year. One of those players they never know if will be availble is Ethan Zubak, 3 appearances as a sub for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy in 2019, and 11 for Galaxy II. Augstine Williams is the other, and has needed 17 appearances to get his 3 goals. Midfielder Kai Koreniak is the leading scorer on the club, and even he has just 5 goals. On the bright side for Galaxy II, Koreniak is on a USL contract, meaning they know that he will be available every week.
The Tulsa Roughnecks have not scored more than 2 goals in a game since they scored 4 against Tacoma Defiance on March 23, 2019. Los Angeles Galaxy II have not scored more than 2 goals in a game since they scored 4 in April 6,2019 against the Tulsa Roughnecks. These two clubs have combined to score just 56 goals, but more telling is that they have combined to concede 80. I predict that either one or both of these teams gets more than 2 goals on Wednesday.
Just how bad have the Tulsa Roughnecks been over the past 2 years? Last season they finished with a conference low 21 points. This year with 18 points through 19 games they should at least surpass that total. However, if you were to combine all of their points from the past 2 season, their total of 39 would still only be enough to put them second place in the Western Conference right now. (That one is for you Darren).
Any time we right about a home game for the Tulsa Roughnecks, we have to mention that they are owned by a minor league baseball team, the Double A Tulsa Drillers. In turn they play their home games at ONEOK Field, a stadium that they share with the Drillers. This creates less than ideal playing conditions for the Roughnecks at home, as sod has to be laid over the baselines before each game. In one of the corners it is even possible to start your run up to a corner kick actually standing on home plate. This makes it difficult on teams that rely on a precision passing game, but by no means do either of these clubs fit that billing. With 2 teams that can't score, and can't stop anyone else from scoring on a less than idea pitch, this could be an ugly game.
Tulsa Roughnecks VS LA Galaxy II Prediction
This is a game that almost nobody is marking off on their calendar, between a pair of clubs that have consistently underperformed over the past 5 seasons. This season doesn't seem to be much different as the consolation prize for winning this game might be not being the team that ends up 2nd to last in the conference. That being said, when you get a couple of teams in the field like this with nothing to lose, it can be a lot of fun. As mentioned, the last game between this two clubs back in April produced 6 goals. With the bumpy sodded over baseball field in play, and the always possible in Oklahoma chance of a farm animal wondering onto the pitch, anything goes in this one.
If you are tuning in to see breathtaking, world class play and highlight real goals, then this isn't quite the game for you. If you are the kind of person who ever bought a VHS tape with the phrase "best follies and bloopers" in the title, then this one is right up your alley. Trying to pick a winner in this one is similar to standing on the side of a pool table blindfolded, and trying to pee into a shot glass on the bar. I wouldn't be surprised if this game finished 6-0, 0-0, or 10-9 for that matter. I am going to go with the theory that in spite of how bad their numbers might look, that players at this level are at least capable of kicking the ball into the net if nobody is stopping them. The last match between these two went to the home team, I will stay with that trend and add another goal into the fracas.
Prediction: Tulsa Roughnecks - 4 LA Galaxy II - 3