Total Domination...except on the scoreboard
Anything less than a win at home is frustrating. A 0-0 draw when you dominated the entire match, but couldn't find a winner? Incredibly frustrating. The Toros were the clear aggressor offensively on Sunday, as they hosted the Tulsa Roughnecks. It was the first match at the new Toros practice facility. The pitch looked great, and the fans were loud. Another rowdy attendee was the wind, which was in RGV's face in the first half, but at their back for the last 45'. With or without the wind, neither team found the net. But the Toros had a clear visual advantage, as well as on the stat sheet. They finished with close to 15 corner kicks, 18 shots and a clear edge on possession. None of those corner kicks produced dangerous opportunities, and a lack of offensive movement off the ball nullified the great job holding the ball. Jose "Memo" Rodriguez was the most deliberate in attack, but none of his five shots could find the back of the net. Callum Irving turned in another strong performance, in the few chances he was needed. He made three saves, while Tulsa's GK Alex Mangels made eight and earned a USL Team of the Week bench spot.
Ballin' Bulls: The Top Three Toros From Last Week
Dynamo Theory's Man of the Match Memo Rodriguez: One of the few players willing to try and take on defenders against Tulsa, Memo led the team in shots and pushed the action.
Callum Irving: Another clean sheet for the Canadian national team keeper. Irving was rock solid in his limited action, including dealing with some intense wind.
Charlie Ward: The Englishman was his usual distributing self in the midfield, putting the ball where it needed to be. He also has a great strike off the volley that forced Tulsa's keeper to make a save.
TJ Casner on why the scoring has dropped for RGVFC:
"I think we're playing too safe to produce what we need to win. Teams are getting used to our possession oriented style, and simply let us have the ball. Unfortunately possession is not a stat that wins games, and we need to find a way to be more ruthless and clinical."
Jorginho James on how the club has been able to get back to back clean sheets:
"We work so hard in practice on defense, and put more emphasis on it so I think we are better organized and balanced when defending."
Captain Kevin Garcia on how the Toros can upset Whitecaps FC 2:
"We need to produce more crosses, shots, set pieces, and runners in the box. We're a defensively sound team that possesses the ball well. We need that extra punch in the attack to complete our game."
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (6-5-7)
The Toros have not won in awhile. 5 straight winless matches for RGVFC. They haven't played poorly over that stretch, but a lot of the time, they have lacked the finish on the attack. The club is great at possessing the ball, there is no debate there. They have truly shored up the defensive side as well, Callum Irving's been great in goal. The offense just lacks the killer instinct. A lot of times the passing in the last third is mundane, side to side, no cuts, no two man play. Losing Jose Escalante to suspension, then possibly the Houston Dynamo, really hurts because he is one of the players on the roster that can overcome the stale offense by beating defenders 1v1. Memo has tried to do this more when he sees a chance, but sometimes tries to do too much. Christian Lucatero is another player that has the natural gift of breaking an opponent down, and he will try to showcase that as he gets more time on the pitch. It will be important to not only keep the defense solid, and continue to dominate possession tonight, but also to take chances being aggressive in the final third.
The Bad Guys: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (9-2-5)
There is a reason the Caps 2 find themselves atop the West's table. Kyle Greig is third in the USL with 10 goals, they have 30 goals as a team, and they play well collectively. Another fun player to watch is the USL's youngest, Alphonso Davies, who has two goals on the year. One thing the club has not excelled at is the defensive end. Four goalkeepers have made appearances and not one of them has a goals against average under 1. They only have one clean sheet since April. Last week, they defeated Real Monarchs on the road 2-1. It will be wise of Rio Grande Valley to take chances, but not get into a shootout with the offensively powerful Caps. Better yet, they should use their possession to control the game, limiting Vancouver's chances by eliminating their time on the ball.
The Dirty Details:
TONIGHT 7:30pm CDT
Watch it live HERE.