In the third home match of the season for RGVFC, the club finally secured the full three points. It was the first meeting between rookie USL sides as the Toros hosted Swope Park Rangers, Sporting Kansas City's affiliate. It was Houston Dynamo Academy product Jose Memo Rodriguez that formally welcomed the Rangers to the Valley with two goals in the first half. Both coming off a teammate making an extra pass rather than fire a shot themselves, Jose Escalante with the first, TJ Casner with the second. Swope was able to get one back as Sporting KC Homegrown rookie Daniel Salloi found the net in the 39th minute. The scoreline would stay that way until Christian Lucatero subbed in with less than 10 minutes remaining in the match.
The eighteen year old had an incredibly exciting, and equally efficient appearance, setting up two goals in that brief time. The first was a perfectly weighted pass to Rob Lovejoy, who scored his third Toros' goal by tapping it home near the endline. Luca's second assist went to fellow second half sub Emilio Garcia. As he slipped after a nice Maradona, he was able to hit a precise ball to Garcia nearby who knocked it in for the final tally of the night. The Toros won it 4-1, with a Dynamo contingent of Bradley Bourgeois, Calle Brown, Zach Steinberger, and Lovejoy. The defense, outside of the lone goal, was very steady. only allowing three shots on goal.
Ballin' Bulls: Three Toros That Caught My Eye
Dynamo Theory's Man of the Match Memo Rodriguez: The second year pro scored double his career total in one match. He has been very aggressive and accurate with his shooting this season, so it was only a matter of time until he broke through.
Christian Lucatero: He only played a handful of minutes, but the Dynamo prodigy tallied two assists in that small time frame. He has been electric every time he has come onto the field.
TJ Casner: The team's and USL league leader in assists added another one on a great through ball for Memo's second score.
Charlie Ward on he's able to distribute so effectively in the midfield:
"I think the whole team helps me play. So when I play well, it is all because of them. I give credit to all my teammates for helping me play the way I want, which is always being on the ball and making the team tick. I'm really thankful to both the staff too, Wilmer and Dello (Michael Dellorusso). They are the reason we play this brand of football, so I give credit to my team mates and staff."
"But I feel it's important for me to play well every game, as it's my job to get the team playing and passing, if I'm not doing that I feel I'm letting the team down. I always feel when I'm passing and getting on the ball, we will always play the right way as its my job as a centre mid. As I'm not the greatest at defending and tackling so I have to make sure I'm always on the ball. I give a lot of credit to Jorginho James, my midfield partner. He is one of the best, if not the best tacklers of the ball I have played with,so he compliments me well. I think we can really build a good relationship."
Leo Ayala on how talented Lucatero is on the ball:
"He is very skilled with the ball. He'll always force someone to commit to marking him, leaving someone else open for the ball."
Memo Rodriguez on netting his first career brace:
"It felt great getting 2 goals I wouldn't have been able to do without the team we moved the ball well on both of my goals we just got to keep the momentum going and be more consistent now and keep working hard."
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (4-2-2)
Now ranked #10 in this week's USL Power Rankings, the Toros face their second double match week of the season. They will visit San Antonio FC in the South Texas Derby on ESPN3 tonight, followed by a trip to Saint Louis on Sunday. The players available may be a bit more limited than usual. The Dynamo hosted Real Sociedad in a friendly last night that allowed some of the more scarce used Dynamo players, usual Toros game day loanees, the opportunity to play in front of the Houston staff and home crowd. Two players who impressed their home fans are Memo Rodriguez and Charlie Ward. They both were selected as USL Team of the Week reserves. Christian Lucatero couldn't have been far off for that list, with his two assists in a handful of minutes. We may be entering the time in the season that he gets some more time to work his way into the starting lineup.
The Bad Guys: San Antonio FC (2-4-3), Saint Louis FC (4-3-2)
First up is Wednesday opponent, and club rival, San Antonio FC. Since their action packed 3-2 defeat, they played back to back matches against Oklahoma City. They played to a 1-1 draw on the road, and lost last week 1-0 at home, their third time being shutout this season. Jason Johnson still leads the club in scoring with three goals, and Manolo Sanchez is coming off a start for the Puerto Rican national team against the USMNT last week. Unfortunately for the Toros, they will likely be facing starting keeper Josh Ford this time around, who was injured in the first meeting. Ford's allowing less than a goal per match.
When they face Saint Louis FC on Sunday for the first time this season, they will be facing the reigning USL player of the week as well. Irvin Herrera scored the club's first four goals in their 5-2 victory over Tulsa this past week. Chicago Fire's USL affiliate Saint Louis find themselves level on the table with RGVFC, having one more game played as well. They host Vancouver Whitecaps FC II tonight and will be looking to continue their undefeated start at home.
The Dirty Details:
5/25 7:30pm CDT on ESPN3 live from Toyota Stadium.
5/29 7:30pm CDT from World Wide Technology Soccer Park. Watch it live HERE.