Having Fun Against Number One
It was a big midweek showdown in the Valley between the slumping RGVFC Toros and the Western Conference leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. It was all but over by the halftime whistle. With Rob Lovejoy and Calle Brown down from the Houston Dynamo, the club seemed to have some extra pep in their step, and bite to their attack. They struck first when the club's top assist man found the club's top scorer, as TJ Casner laid a ball off to Memo Rodriguez who did the rest, putting RGVFC up 1-0 in the 17'. It didn't take long for the lead to double, as it was Casner's turn to find the net this time on a find from Lovejoy. A 2-0 halftime lead is a great confidence boost against such a great side in front of your home crowd. 3-0 is a nail in the coffin. Memo found the net again, this time on an outstanding blast into the upper right corner, earning a spot on the USL's Goals of the Week.
Coming out of halftime, the club didn't allow themselves to be complacent. They continued to dominate possession, as well as putting more shots on goal. Emilio Garcia added a goal late for good measure, closing the scoring at 4-0 at the RGVFC Practice Complex.
Ballin' Bulls: Last Week's Top Three Toros
Dynamo Theory's Man of the Match Jose "Memo" Rodriguez: This week's USL Player of the Week continues to cement himself as a legit goal scorer in the USL, tallying his fifth and sixth goals against Whitecaps 2.
TJ Casner: The Clemson product's movement, passing, and even finishing were on display last week. He is the Toros' man who unlocks the defense with a final touch or pass, this week ending with an assist and a goal.
Charlie Ward: Clockwork Charlie was his usual steady, distributing self in the midfield for RGVFC. He always brings the offense from the backline to the attack seamlessly, and last Wednesday's match was no different.
Jorginho James explains how the Toros controlled the midfield against Whitecaps FC 2:
"I think the whole spacing helped because we knew Vancouver is a good team and the only way we could control them is if we could get the right spacing and let the midfielders get on the ball often so we could dictate the game. We mixed things up a bit and I think it worked pretty well in the end. We started the game aggressive and we haven't done that often this season, if we can get that start each game we're going to be remembered for a long time."
Memo Rodriguez on what an honor it is to be USL Player of the Week:
"Very humbled about this honor you know I wouldn't be in the position I am without my teammates. I just try to finish my chances and try to contribute as much as possible to the team! The work doesn't stop here for me or the team we have to come out with a strong mentality the second half of the season and finish strong."
TJ Casner on how the club can keep the momentum from this big win:
"I think we need to start strong and impose ourselves on the game early. We had a very good press, and it made our opponent very uncomfortable from the beginning."
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (7-5-7)
The Toros find themselves tied for fifth in the Western Conference standings. They are 8th on the USL's weekly Top 10 power rankings. It was the best performance of the season for RGVFC against WFC2. They dominated beginning to end, in every fashion imaginable. Memo earned a well deserved USL Player of the Week, putting two shots past the keeper, and continuing to show himself as an effective, aggressive attacking player. The club excelled in a big game, and confidence is high going into the bye week. They have some time off now to refresh, heal, and then turn their focus to 7/30 when they host Sacramento Republic FC.
For the US Open Cup match tonight, Charlie Ward has signed a Short Term agreement with the Dynamo, allowing him to join the club, and possibly make his Houston debut against FC Dallas. With the time off, there may be more agreements like this for tonight, but at the time I'm writing this, it's only Ward.
Enjoy the USL's Goals of the Week, including Memo's second against WFC2 at the 20 second mark.