The Oakland Roots are still looking for its rhythm after two games, losing 2-1 on the road to Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night after allowing two first half goals. Albeit a tougher opening schedule, the losses are technically a worse start than last season with no points and a -2 goal differential compared to three points and the same differential in 2021.
Oakland opened the first 10 minutes positively with new striker Ottar Magnus Karlsson recording a shot on target that was saved narrowly wide of the right post in the seventh minute after receiving a feed from Juan Carlos Azocar, while Edgardo Rito had a cross targeting Karlsson two minutes later.
But Memphis broke the deadlock after Roots conceded a free kick just a few feet above the penalty area when Alejandro Fuenmayor was called for being too handsy on Derek Dodson. Memphis’ Aaron Molloy banged his shot home over the wall. Dodson had another chance for 901 in the 17th minute when Phillip Goodrum chested a ball past Fuenmayor on the right flank but his left-footed shot trailed wide of the right post.
From there, Charlie Dennis had a beauty of a left-footed shot go a foot high of the net in the 19th, while Fuenmayor had a slow header on target after receiving a longball into the box by Dennis from a free kick in the 25th minute. But that was the final attacking activity from Oakland in the first half while Memphis pressed forward to get their second goal.
In the 31st, Memphis’ Goodrum had a goal wiped off the board due to an offside call where Dodson sent a nifty back-heel flick through the defense. But any joy for Roots was short-lived as 901 struck again 10 minutes later when Patrick Seagrist scored on a free-header at the left post.
In the buildup, Laurent Kissiedou gained possession at the top of the area and worked to Jeremy Kelly on the right side. Kelly sent a cross over the defense to Seagrist, who instinctively charged past Rito ball-watching for the goal. Rito, notably, was making his first appearance for the club after unseating Memo Diaz for a starting role prior to Saturday.
The Roots came out stronger in the second half and controlled the pace in the latter going. In the last 45 minutes, Oakland compiled eight shots compared to Memphis’ one and began executing the progressive look envisioned in a Juan Guerra system.
Roots had a chance in the 52nd when Azocar nailed the post; Karlsson may had made some contact on the ball as it approached the net. And then five minutes later, Karlsson nearly scored after Dennis flicked a pass toward the Icelander, who moved past the centerback and took a touch with his left foot before volleying it out of the air, Memphis’ Trey Muse made the save with an outstretched left hand.
Lindo Mfeka entered the match in the 73rd and had a big impact despite not making the top-10 ratings by FotMob, perhaps they missed a key pass by the South African. In the final 17 minutes, Roots created seven opportunities to score including the goal in the 81st. In the 76th, Azocar had a shot sail high, Rito had a cross in the box also go high in the 77th, Azocar had a run into the box in the 78th and looked to dump off to Formella but it was cleared. Azocar had a shot on target saved in the 80th after Dennis sent a beauty of a long-ball to him.
Roots goal in the 81st came when Mfeka received a pass from Rito and worked toward the area. Lindo sent a low pass on the ground to Formella, who was able to gain possession with two defenders on him and push in a right-footed shot while off balance.
Oakland wasn’t done from there, late sub Chuy Enriquez nearly found Formella in front of the net in the 88th, but Memphis cleared the ball before he could make contact on his shot attempt. Jose Hernandez then had a shot from distance go wide in the second minute of stoppage time.
My Man of the Match: Darek Formella
I originally penciled in Lindo Mfeka here, and he definitely deserves an honorable mention for his impact in the final 15 minutes–robbed of an official assist due to technicalities. But, my Man of the Match is Roots’ goal scorer Darek Formella. He put himself in good position to score in several instances and was nearly the saving grace for Oakland.
As the whistle blew, Formella rushed to the referee and drew a yellow card, possibly upset that more stoppage time wasn’t added. His fiery mentality will certainly be needed.
FotMob.com Top-10 player ratings
- Juan Carlos Azocar, 7.8
In 90 minutes, Azocar recorded four shots with one on target, completed 21 of 29 passes including two key passes and 1/2 crosses, recorded 3/4 successful dribbles, one corner, won one tackle in as many attempts, won 4/8 duels and 2/4 aerial duels, gained 11 recoveries and committed two fouls.
2. Darek Formella, 7.4
In 90 minutes, Formella scored once with his only shot, completed 33 of 45 passes including one key pass, and 3/6 long balls, recorded 1/3 successful dribbles and dribbled past one defender, one interception, one interception, won 1/7 duels and 1/2 aerial duel, and committed one foul.
3. Jose Hernandez, 7.4
In 90 minutes Hernandez took one shot and completed 46 of 58 passes including 4/7 long balls, won four tackles in as many attempts, dribbled past one defender, had one clearance, five interceptions, seven recoveries, won 8/11 ground duels and 2/3 aerial duels, drew four fouls, and committed one foul.
4. Charlie Dennis, 7.0
In 90 minutes, Dennis recorded one shot and completed 39 of 44 passes including four key passes, 3/10 crosses and 6/7 long balls, took six corners, had one successful dribbles in as many attempts, had one interception, three recoveries, won 3/6 ground duels and 1/2 aerial duels, drew two fouls, and committed two fouls.
5. Akeem O’Connor-Ward, 6.7
In 72 minutes, O’Connor-Ward completed 35 of 40 passes including 2/3 long balls, had 1/2 successful dribbles and dribbled past one defender, won two tackles in as many attempts, 4/6 ground duels, 2/3 aerial duels, had two interceptions, seven recoveries, and drew one foul.
6. Alejandro Fuenmayor, 6.7
In 90 minutes, Fuenmayor completed 58 of 76 passes including 9/17 long balls, recorded one shot on target in as many attempts, won 2/4 ground duels and 4/5 aerial duels, had one clearance, five interceptions, two recoveries, drew two fouls, and committed two fouls.
7. Edgardo Rito, 6.6
In 90 minutes, Rito recorded one shot and completed 28 of 38 passes including one key pass, one attack blocked and 1/2 long balls, had two successful dribbles in as many attempts and dribbled past one defender, won 2/4 ground duels, 2/3 aerial duels, one interception, and seven recoveries.
8. Daniel Barbir, 6.4
In 90 minutes, Barbir completed 61 of 77 passes including 6/16 long balls, had one successful dribble in as many attempts and dribbled past two defenders, won one tackle in as many attempts, 2/4 ground duels and 2/3 aerial duels, two clearances, and five recoveries.
9. Matias Fissore, 6.3
In 84 minutes, Fissore completed 57 of 65 passes including 8/10 long balls, won two tackles in as many attempts, 2/6 ground duels and 1/2 aerial duels, four interceptions, five recoveries, and committed three fouls.
10. Ottar Magnus Karlsson, 6.2
In 83 minutes, Karlsson recorded two shots with both on target, completed 17 of 26 passes, had one successful dribbles in as many attempts, won 1/4 ground duels, 3/6 aerial duels, and committed two fouls.