It was a busy weekend for Chicago’s USL affiliate Roughnecks FC, as they played matches on both Thursday and Saturday night.
On Thursday, Tulsa welcomed Vancouver Whitecaps 2—fondly nicknamed the Thundercaps by their supporters—to ONEOK Field in a match that they desperately needed three points from.
Not only did they get the result they needed, but they did so in dominant fashion.
Both Collin Fernandez and Joey Calistri—a pair of Chicago Fire loanees—started in this match, and they both played extremely well. Fernandez was up and down the pitch, putting in tackles when necessary and providing the Tulsa back line some much needed cover. There weren’t too many flashy highlights from the Chicago homegrown player in this one, but he definitely put in a solid shift.
Calistri, who has had an extremely good start to the season with Tulsa, was a force to be reckoned with in this match. In the 26th minute, the former Northwestern Wildcat won a free kick outside of the box, and club captain Juan Caffa did the rest.
The Fire loanee’s hard work continued to pay off for Tulsa in the 40th minute, when he made a darting run into Vancouver’s technical area. He drew two defenders to him, and then quickly dropped the ball back out of the box to Caffa. The Argentine whipped the ball across the face of goal, and it was headed home by Ian Svantesson.
Finally, in the 53rd minute, Calistri got free on the right flank and delivered a perfect cross—one that left Richey helpless—to the foot of Svantesson, whose powerful volley put the Roughnecks up 3-1 and effectively killed off the game.
But that was not Tulsa’s only match of the weekend. On Saturday, the Fire’s USL affiliate squared off against LAFC affiliate Orange County SC in their second match in three days.
Tulsa was dominant in this performance, blowing Chicago Fire legend and Orange County head coach Logan Pause’s team out of the water 4-0. Both Fernandez and Calistri once again featured in this match, and both did well.
Fernandez didn’t add much in terms of highlights, but Veljko Paunovic, Nelson Rodriguez and co. should definitely be impressed by their young player’s performances so far this season.
Joey Calistri also impressed, adding a goal off the bench Saturday to go along with his assist Thursday. A depth touch from the former Northwestern man guided the ball into the back of the net, bringing his total to 3 goals in seven games.
Overall, it was a very encouraging weekend from the Fire’s loanees. Tulsa will return to action in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup when they face OKC Energy’s U23 side on Wednesday, May 17. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.