In a press release sent out Wednesday, the Dynamo and RGVFC announced the signing of six new players. 2016 Houston Dynamo Superdraft selections, defender Ivan Magalhães and T.J. Casner, Jamaican international Jorginho "Moon Man" James, former University of Virginia teammates Eric Bird and Todd Wharton and former Seton Hall standout Kai Greene were all signed by the Toros. This takes the Toros' roster total up to 15 officially. Here's a breakdown of the players for the debut season of RGVFC, noting that various Dynamo players will pop in for cameos throughout the season as well.
*Player ages in parenthesis
Forwards: Dzenan Catic (23) and Juan "Charly" Flores (18)
The list is short up top, but some of the many midfield players are more programmed to get forward than they are to stay back. Catic was the 31st overall selection by the Philadelphia Union in the 2015 Superdraft. He split time on loan between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Carolina Railhawks. He made 16 appearances but never found the net. He's a taller target at 6'3'' and found the net in yesterday's scrimmage against the Dynamo and looks to have more opportunities in this year's campaign, being one of two current forwards. The other forward being 18 year old, Dynamo Academy product Charly Flores. The 2015 Academy Player of the Year, Flores recently spent time with the USMNT U-20 side in their camp in Florida. Flores will be getting a taste of his first professional competitive action, so expectations should be tempered. But 25 goals in 31 games in 2015 should also provide some excitement and intrigue into his rookie season.
Midfielders: T.J. Casner (21), Charlie Ward (21), Eric Bird (22), Todd Wharton (22), Jorginho James (21), George Malki (23), Memo Rodriguez (20) and Christian Lucatero (18)
This club does not lack numbers in the midfield. As I mentioned when discussing the forwards, some of these players have a more attacking mindset than most midfielders. Christian Lucatero, a prodigy of the Academy system, is known to cause havoc for defenses in the attacking third. Casner is another midfielder who likes to find the net. Memo Rodriguez showed a high motor and great pressure on the ball in his rookie season with the Charleston Battery.
Bird and Wharton were teammates at the University of Virginia, where Bird was a two time All American and team captain, and Wharton took over the captaincy after Bird graduated in 2014. They won a National Championship in 2014. After being selected by the Union in the 2015 Superdraft, Bird appeared three times for their USL affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders. A deep lying, creative mid, Charlie Ward is making his US debut after starring for the Stoke City U-21 side. Jorginho James, better known as Moon Man, will also be making his US debut, after playing for the Jamaican National Team Reggae Boyz and starring for Jamaican Premier League side Harbour View FC. James describes himself as a much more defensive midfielder and will help win possesion in the middle of the park. Lastly, Malki, a 31st overall selection in 2014 by the Montreal Impact, played in the USL last year, scoring one goal in 26 appearances for Arizona United.
Defenders: Ivan Magalhães (22), Kevin Garcia (25) Kai Greene (22) Taylor Hunter (22)
Two former draft picks of the Dynamo find themselves on the backline in Rio Grande Valley, as 2016 pick Ivan Magalhães teams up with 2015 pick Taylor Hunter. Hunter made one appearance for Houston and 14 on loan with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, where he found the net once. The Brazilian, Magalhães, is coming off a great season at the University of Maryland and will provide great pace and athleticism to the defense. Kai Greene actually played in the midfield for the Seton Hall Pirates scoring five goals last season, but he's expected to find a place along the back for the Toros. Kevin Garcia was a supplemental pic of the New England Revolution in 2012. He played his past few seasons in Sweden with IFK Luleå. He's the elder statesmen of the roster as it stands currently.
Goalkeeper: Devin Perales (22)
The lone keeper on the roster for the Toros is Devin Perales. He has been red hot this preseason and has kept most of RGVFC's friendly opponents scoreless. The Texas native is coming off his rookie season playing with the Austin Aztex. All signs would likely point to Dynamo keeper Calle Brown making at least a couple of appearances for the Toros, as he's the third keeper in Houston behind Tyler Deric and Joe Willis.