Game Notes & Player Ratings: Oakland Roots gain point at Colorado Springs

Oakland Roots came away with a point at Colorado Springs, a welcomed sight against the third place team in the Western Conference. The 1-1 tie brings Roots to 40 points in eighth place, tied with Monterey Bay for points but ahead on head to head goal differential. With just three matches left in the season, Oakland will arguably have to achieve 46 to reach the postseason.

Here is a rundown of the matches left for teams ranked 5-11:

  • Oakland, 40 points: Birmingham (Oct. 1), Hartford (Oct. 8), Pittsburgh (Oct. 15)
  • New Mexico, 43 points: Las Vegas (Sep. 30), LA (Oct. 5), San Diego (Oct. 9), Colorado (Oct. 15)
  • El Paso, 43 points: Tampa Bay (Sep. 30), Colorado (Oct. 5), Orange County (Oct. 15)
  • RGV, 42 points: Louisville (Oct. 1), Memphis (Oct. 5), Phoenix (Oct. 8), Monterey (Oct. 15)
  • Monterey, 40 points: Vegas (Sep. 27), Tampa (Oct. 1), Tulsa (Oct. 8), RGV (Oct. 15)
  • Las Vegas, 37 points: Vegas (Sep. 27), New Mexico (Sep. 30), Miami (Oct. 8), LA (Oct. 15)
  • Los Angeles, 36 points: Sac (Oct. 2), New Mexico (Oct. 5), Atlanta (Oct. 8), Vegas (Oct. 15)

The race to the finish is going to be epically close. At this point, it’s difficult to see Las Vegas or Los Angeles fighting its way back into the playoff picture–but Vegas will be required to play spoiler against Monterey in two days. The target appears to be on sixth-place El Paso, which has three matches left where they will be the underdog on two occasions; Roots hold the H2H tiebreaker on Locomotive. RGV’s most winnable games looks like Phoenix and Monterey, so their mark could be between 45-48 points. I could see New Mexico, meanwhile, finishing with between 46-49 points by gaining points versus LV and LA.

Going into Saturday’s contest, I wrote that Oakland should be fine with taking a point from the top rated Switchbacks. Going up a man for nearly the last 40 minutes of the game left a bit more to be desired out of Roots, but at least gaining picking up the tie was undoubtedly a necessity.

Colorado’s goal after just 23 seconds was the quickest score conceded in club history. However, it wasn’t even the fastest goal of the day after San Diego’s Collin Martin sent one in at the 16-second mark against Las Vegas.

In the Switchbacks’ lightning fast go-ahead, Dennis Erdmann intercepted a long ball by Danny Barbir and sent a pass back toward Oakland’s back line. Colorado’s Aaron Wheeler got in front of Alejandro Fuenmayor, allowing the ball to bounce to Elvis Amoh, who sent a left footed rocket into the top bin. It’s hard to place blame on anyone for the goal allowed; freak plays occur. But from there, Oakland struggled to find clear shots prior to half time with eight attempts and none on target.

Perhaps Roots’ best look of the opening 45 minutes came in the 14th when Lindo Mfeka sprang Edgardo Rito down the right side. The Venezuelan centered a pass to Darek Formella charging past a defender and toward the net, but Formella couldn’t make contact with the pass just a couple of yards in front of the goal.

Charlie Dennis, making his third consecutive appearance in the midfield, had a shot from distance go high in the 17th minute. Juan Carlos Azocar also had an attempt from a tough angle go wide in the 19th minute. Another good look for Oakland was a shot by Mfeka in the 40th minute from a couple of feet above the penalty area, but his shot went high.

Ottar Magnus Karlsson’s penalty kick was the first action of the second half. We named the Big Fucking Viking RootsBlog’s Man of the Match for the entirety of this play–he drew the foul to gain the set piece above the penalty area, took the free kick which his Amoh’s hand, and then stepped to the spot to convert the PK.

It marked Ottar’s 17th goal of the season, which makes him the third in the USL Championship behind Memphis’ Phillip Goodrum’s 19 and Golden Boot leader Milan Iloski of Orange County with 21.

From there, Oakland couldn’t create any meaningful opportunities despite being up a man. Roots finished with 18 total shots but only had two on target including the penalty kick. Switchbacks’ defense was able to stay compact to block six shots.

In the 62nd minute, Dennis had a left footed attempt sail high. Four minutes later, Rito had a shot also trail high. Colorado arguably had the best look of the second half off of a corner in the 69th minute when Mfeka, standing in good position, cleared a ball off of the line.

Quickly after the corner, Rito broke down the right side and had Karlsson standing all alone while on the counter attack. However, Rito’s pass was too far out in front of Ottar and he couldn’t get a foot on the ball. Later on in the half, Karlsson had an attempt in the 83rd that was closed out by the Colorado keeper while Lindo had a shot blocked soon after.

Memo Diaz entered in the 86th minute for Mfeka. Oakland did well to shift some of their attacking motion towards his side but the move to Diaz seemed to be a little too late for him to pick up steam with less than 10 minutes of activity. He had a few cross attempts either closed out by the Colorado defense or sail past the end line.

Roots record is still at the .500 mark at 9-13-9. They look ahead to the Laney College season finale on October 1 versus Birmingham Legion, which sits fourth place in the Eastern Conference at 16-7-8. A victory over Legion would give Oakland its first positive winning percentage of the entire season.

FotMob Top-10 Ratings

  1. Ottar Magnus Karlsson, 7.8

In 90 minutes, Karlsson scored once with four shots, two on target and one blocked, completing 12 of 17 passes, created three chances, won 3/5 ground duels, 2/5 aerial duels, drew two fouls including the penalty kick, and finished with 26 total touches.

2. Charlie Dennis, 7.3

In 90 minutes, Dennis recorded three shots with one blocked, completing 51 of 65 passes, 17 passes into the final third, 4/12 crosses, 8/11 long balls, took eight corners, created four chances, had 1/1 successful dribble, five recoveries, won 5/11 ground duels, 2/2 aerial duels, drew three fouls, and finished with 92 total touches.

3. Lindo Mfeka, 7.3

In 86 minutes, Mfeka took three shots with two blocked and completed 32 of 37 passes, 2/2 long balls, five passes into the final third, created one chance, dribbled past one defender, won 1/2 tackles, 2/4 ground duels, cleared one shot off of the line, blocked one shot, five recoveries, and finished with 46 total touches.

4. Jose Hernandez, 7.2

In 90 minutes, Hernandez completed 55 of 63 passes, 4/4 long balls, 12 passes into the final third, created one chance, had 1/2 successful dribbles, dribbled past one defender, won 1/1 tackle, 3/6 ground duels, one interception, 10 recoveries, drew one foul, and finished with 72 total touches.

5. Danny Barbir, 7.1

In 90 minutes, Barbir completed 36 of 46 passes, 3/6 long balls, seven passes into the final third, dribbled past two defenders, won 2/4 tackles, 4/8 ground duels, one clearance by header, one interception, eight recoveries, and finished with 63 total touches.

6. Juan Carlos Azocar, 7.1

In 89 minutes, Azocar took three shots and completed 11 of 15 passes, 2/4 crosses, one pass into the final third, created two chances, had 1/2 successful dribbles, won 1/1 tackle, 2/3 ground duels, 1/2 aerial duel, two interceptions, four recoveries, and finished with 31 total touches.

7. Alejandro Fuenmayor, 6.7

In 90 minutes, Fuenmayor had two shots and completed 39 of 48 passes, 2/5 long balls, four passes into the final third, had 1/1 successful dribble, dribbled past one defender, won 1/1 tackle, 2/8 ground duels, 4/8 aerial duels, blocked one shot, two interceptions, eight recoveries, and finished with 64 total touches.

8. Tarek Morad, 6.6

In 90 minutes, Morad completed 59 of 61 passes, 2/2 long balls, four passes into the final third, won 1/2 ground duels, blocked one shot, one clearance, one interception, five recoveries, drew one foul, and finished with 75 total touches.

9. Darek Formella, 6.5

In 67 minutes, Formella recorded one shot that was blocked and completed 23 of 27 passes, 1/2 long balls, two passes into the final third, had 1/1 successful dribble, won 2/4 ground duels, one interception, three recoveries, drew one foul, and finished with 36 total touches.

10. Edgardo Rito, 6.2

In 89 minutes, Rito recorded two shots with one blocked, completing 23 of 33 passes, three passes into the final third, had 2/5 successful dribbles, won 2/9 ground duels, one interception, and finished with 53 total touches.

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