Wasn't Meant To Be For RGVFC
When a team doesn't play a great offensive match, or focus all their energy on defense, a 0-0 draw is an acceptable result. This was not the case on Saturday for the Toros, who came out with a fire offensively, the most direct play of the season arguably. They were rewarded for their efforts with a few finger tip saves, a couple off the iron, and a big ole goose egg on the scoreboard.
Both fullbacks, George Malki and Kevin Garcia, bombed forward all night, creating chances for themselves or teammates. Charlie Ward had a rocket shot saved, Escalante had plenty of good attempts. Some of the better chances were had by Dzenan Catic, who saw his first action after an early season concussion. He got a perfect through ball from Charlie Ward, touched it around a defender, and was one on one with the keeper. Unfortunately his shot was saved by the keepers swimsuit area. He had another chance minutes later, when a corner kick bounced around, before finding Catic at the far post with the goalkeeper off his line. Unfortunately this time, his shot went right off a defender. As the final seconds ticked off, it seemed as if no matter what the Toros did, they weren't finding the net. On the other end, Callum Irving and crew notched another clean sheet, the club's fifth straight. It's a combination of timely saves, solid defensive structure, and the top possession based attack in the USL.
This match featured two of the Houston Dynamo signings from this week. Jose Escalante, a familiar face, returned from a four match suspension to start for RGVFC. The other cameo was Yair Arboleda. Dynamo fans who didn't tune in should be excited about seeing the young Colombian. Not only does he possess great pace, he's very tricky on the ball, and effectively pressures the defense. It's unclear how long his paperwork will take to complete his move up to Houston, but selfishly, I'd like to see him at least once more in a Toros jersey.
Ballin' Bulls: Last Week's Top Three Toros
Dynamo Theory's Man of the Match Kevin Garcia: The Toros captain was all energy, all night. He continually pressed forward from his backline position, and had a couple great shots on goal. His hustle, skills, and leadership were all on display for the entire match,
TJ Casner: The top assist man for the Toros, Casner wanted to be on the scoring end of those plays this week. Mixed in with his great passing, were some great runs on goal. He was offside a couple times, but his attacking mindset helped drive RGVFC offensively.
George Malki: Gorgeous George, similar to Garcia, was great up the flanks against OKC. He used his pace multiple times to simply blow by defenders, and send balls into the box.
Kevin Garcia on the team coming out and playing more direct against OKC:
"Yes, it's no secret that we've been struggling to score goals. We're still keeping our possession based play, but we're going to need to take risks in the attack. We're whipping more balls into the box and many chances came of it against OKC."
Charlie Ward explains what might be preventing the Toros from scoring:
"I think we are dominating games,teams are seeing what a good team we are. But it's hard when teams sit behind the ball,we are having to dominate possession, and then we get frustrated and start forcing things. We are a good team and results will come. We have to believe in what we do,what Wilmer and dello tell us, and I am sure, like the rest of the team results will come. Because don't forget we haven't lost in 5 matches. Whatever anyone says we are not losing,and if we are home or away,we look to win anywhere. We are still confident and everyone is ready for next game."
George Malki on what the Toros can do to not allow teams to steal a goal late, i.e. Seattle earlier this year:
"We need to keep compact from the front to the back and we need to make sure that we finish the chances we get. As always we need to dominate the ball in order to limit their chances."
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (7-5-9)
Wilmer Cabrera sent his men out with a mission: Be aggressive, b-e- aggressive! It was an offensive showcase nearly all of the match for RGVFC. Great chances came from a lot of different players, like Charlie Ward, Kevin Garcia, Dzenan Catic, and the Joses, Escalante and Rodriguez. Somehow though, nothing broke through. It will be important for the guys to continue to press the action, and not get discouraged by the shutout last match. With Callum Irving on his A game, the attack has some freedom to take more chances. Once the confidence builds and the shots start finding twine, there will be more games like the 4-0 drubbing of Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. They are back on the USL's top 10 Power Rankings, rounding out the list at #10. Kevin Garcia was recognized on this week's USL Team of the Week as well.
The Bad Guys: Seattle Sounders FC 2 (7-9-6)
Before a draw this past week against Whitecaps 2, Sounders 2 had won four straight. Also last week, they added Irvin Raul Parra, and parted with usual team captain Andy Craven. There most dangerous player was #1 on the USL's 20 under 20 series, Victor Mansaray. However, it seems he's currently trialing in Norway, so he most likely won't be suiting up Saturday. Darwin Jones and Myron Samuel have also been very effective for S2 this year. The only previous matchup between the two, RGVFC allowed Seattle to earn a draw late up in Cascadia. They only have one clean sheet since April, so that bodes well for the tough luck Toros attack.