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Comeback Boys: Tulsa Roughnecks 1, Orange County Blues 2

The Blues embark on a winning streak after battling to a win in Oklahoma.

Chaplow scores in his first start for the Blues.
Chaplow scores in his first start for the Blues.
Rich Crimi/Tulsa Roughnecks FC

The Orange County Blues completed a comeback and grabbed a valuable three points on the road on Thursday, beating the Tulsa Roughnecks 2-1 at ONEOK Stadium.

The Blues looked like they had the lead just a few minutes in, as Trevin Caesar scored on a breakaway, but the goal was waived off for a handball by the striker. Replays indicated it looked like a fair call.

Unfortunately for OC, the Roughnecks grabbed a lead moments later, as Cristian Mata sent a low cross from the left to Sammy Ochoa, who redirected the ball past Brandon Miller. It was a dispiriting start for Orange County, and the Roughnecks’ broadcast reminded everyone that the Blues were 0-5-0 heading into this game after conceding first.

After a first half that the Roughnecks controlled, the Blues came out like a different side after the break, beginning with an equalizer from newcomer Richard Chaplow two minutes in, as he took a layoff from Mats Bjurman and slammed a shot to the opposite side netting.

A couple minutes later, it appeared OC grabbed the lead, with another newcomer, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, scoring off a set piece, but for the second time in the game, the goal was chalked off.

But Caesar got his goal, as he stole a poor ball in the back from Tulsa and rounded Tulsa goalkeeper Alex Mangels just before the hour mark to complete the comeback and make it 2-1.

From there, the Blues did well to kill off the game, as Tulsa, in good form the last month but still rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference, could not find an answer to tie the game back up.

The win helps the Blues move past the Seattle Sounders 2 and in a tie on points with Saint Louis FC in the Western Conference heading into the weekend action. And with the newcomers on Orange County getting into the action, it looks like they are making an instant difference.

The Blues have a short turnaround for their next match, as they’ll host Arizona United SC on Sunday afternoon at Anteater Stadium. The Blues coaching staff made liberal use of their substitutes in this game, likely to try and keep as many players fresh and available for Sunday’s game as possible, in order to keep the winning streak going.

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