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The Bull And Its Horns: RGVFC Readies For Rangers

After settling for a 1-1 draw last week against Real Monarchs, the Toros look for their first home win on Saturday vs. Swope Park Rangers.

Charlie Ward has been great distributing the ball from the midfield this season.
Charlie Ward has been great distributing the ball from the midfield this season.

2 Red Cards, 2 Goals, No Winner.

In their second home match of the year at the UTRGV complex, it was not an ideal start to the match for the RGVFC Toros. Sebastien Ibeagha, a Houston Dynamo loanee, pulled on the shoulder of a Real Monarchs' forward as he entered the penalty area, add in some theatrics on the fall, and Monarchs SLC was awarded a penalty in the 6th minute. Ricardo Velazco knocked it home, putting Real on the board early. The call really could have gone either way, but the inconsistency that followed is what made it especially frustrating. Only five minutes after the penalty was awarded, a Monarchs attacker stepped right on keeper Devin Perales' leg, no foul whistled. Then, on a beautiful chip ahead from Mauro Manotas, Jorginho James was whistled for a yellow card, when he the keeper flipped over him as he aggressively tried to knock the ball away that James had already conceded. Especially in the first half, it could be said Real Monarchs were getting home field advantage on some calls as the road team. Another trend in the first half was the Monarchs attention paid defensively to Manotas. He was often shadowed by two defenders at a time. The usual possession based offense of RGVFC was not on display in the first 45', as they instead just sent ill advised balls in the air back and forth with the Monarchs defense.

The second half play was definitely more open. As both teams got more comfortable in their opponents' halves, shots and chances followed. In the 57th minute, Charlie Ward sent a perfect ball in the air to Rob Lovejoy's foot, he made a move past a defender and tried to center it, but it deflected off the last defender back. Fortunately for RGVFC, the deflection went right into the path Manotas was on, and he slid in and tapped the ball past Monarchs' keeper Lalo Fernandez. The rest of the half grew progressively more chippy. The Monarchs ended up with 7 yellow cards, four of them split between Danilo Acosta and Kevaughn Frater, sent off in the 69th and 85th minutes respectively. Acosta, true to the Monarchs' fashion the entire match, took a VERY long time walking off, attempting to keep the score level. He was then assisted by Ward, walking behind him with both hands on his back pushing him forward, so play could continue. This kindhearted assistance was met with a yellow card as well. No matter how many players the Toros sent forward, they were unable to break the deadlock and had to settle for 1 point. They will still be seeking their first home victory this weekend.

Ballin' Bulls: Three Players Who Caught My Eye

Dynamo Theory's Man of the Match Charlie Ward: The former Stoke City U-21 product continues to improve his already great distribution from the midfield, and impress in his defensive assignments. His deep ball forward to Lovejoy, on the Manotas goal, was flawless, and something he does with relative consistency.

Mauro Manotas: The goal and his contribution of attracting the focus of two defenders at all times were vital to the positive result for RGVFC.

Rob Lovejoy: In his second Toro appearance, he continued to use his great pace to drive the offense forward, including the play that he assisted Manotas for the club's lone goal.

Talkin' Toros

Ivan Magalhães on how he felt the team defended against the Monarchs:

"I think we did a great job but we still have to improve in a lot of areas and hopefully come up with more clean sheets."

Charlie Ward on how the team can continue to improve:

"I think we have had a good start to the season only losing 2 out of the 7 games. I think as a team, we are getting better each week with the work Wilmer and Dello(asst. coach Michael Dellorusso) are doing on the training field. We are aiming to win every game we play in and to do that we need to keep working and keep growing as a team which I most definitely  think we are. And this week, we want to give our fans something to cheer about, by getting a win and playing an attractive brand of football that the coaching staff implement"

Leo Ayala on how the crowd has been in the two home games:

"They've been very rowdy. Exactly what we need during our matches."

The Good Guys: RGVFC Toros (3-2-2)

The Toros were unable to take advantage of finishing the match up two men, but they did earn a point at home against Real Monarchs. It will be important for RGVFC to start getting wins, and not settling in front of their home crowd. They will take on fellow USL newcomer, Swope Park Rangers on Saturday, and will need to create more legit chances on goal. Depending on who will be on hand for the match, that job could fall to a couple these guys: Manotas, TJ Casner, Lovejoy, Memo Rodriguez, Dzenan Catic or Jose Escalante. The defense has been pretty solid and will need to continue that trend and not allow the rare goals that are based on a momentarily lapse, rather than an assignment or talent issue.  One Dynamo loanee that may make a cameo would be keeper Calle Brown, who returns to his role of the club's third goalkeeper as Tyler Deric finished serving his 1 game suspension.

The Bad Guys: Swope Park Rangers (3-3-1)

Swope Park was able to end a winless streak with a 2-1 win over Tulsa last week. Before that, the last win for the Sporting Kansas City USL side, was on April 2nd, also against the Roughnecks. Both goals in their latest triumph were from USL Team of the Week forward Tyler Pasher. One forward the Toros hopefully won't have to face Saturday is the USL's all time leading scorer, Dane Kelly, who is rehabbing from an injury. Kris Tyrpak and Oliveira are two key pieces to the Rangers attack. The team's primary keeper is Jon Kempin, who is on loan from Sporting KC. In his last appearance on 5/7, he allowed three goals and made no saves against Saint Louis FC before getting a break last week. Another player who got a week off last week was 2015 Houston draft pick, defender Oumar Ballo. His break was due to two first half yellow cards in the Saint Louis match, in his only start this season. It would be fun to see him against the team who drafted him's USL side, including former Battery teammate briefly Memo Rodriguez.

The Dirty Details

5/21 7:30pm CST

UTRGV Complex

Check out the match center HERE.

Cold Blooded!

A hilarious back and forth between the Twitter accounts of @RGVFC and @SanAntonioFC, led to this amazing Twitter shot by the Toros. I'd score this Twitter sparring in favor of the Toros, who also won the match on the pitch this season.