Houston Heads To H-E-B
It was a busy few days for RGVFC and their facilities. They hosted their MLS, hybrid affiliate Houston Dynamo. The parent club was able to see the nearly completed H-E-B Park, surely to be among the best stadiums in the USL, and they got some game action in with the Toros, as well as UTRGV. H-E-B Park was very impressive to the players I spoke to, on both Houston and RGV’s rosters.
A handful of players under contract with RGV played with the Dynamo, where they are trialing this preseason. That left mostly trialists to fill out the Toros’ squad for the scrimmages. Houston came away with a significant advantage in goals over the total time on the pitch.
In regards to those players trialing with Houston, that list is: Charlie Ward, George Malki, Memo Rodriguez, Eric Bird, Todd Wharton, TJ Casner, Taylor Hunter, and Jorginho James, who is still unsigned after his loan expired. Fans are clamoring for Ward and Memo especially to get a shot with the first team. Ward, a native of England, would need an international roster spot and is recovering from a minor injury.
As it did last year, the Toros’ squad will almost surely include Dynamo Superdraft picks, whether it’s on a USL contract, or just loaned from the first team. Match time with RGVFC was huge for 2016 Houston draft picks TJ Casner and Ivan Magalhaes. It also got Mauro Manotas time to stay sharp before exploding onto the MLS season late in the year.
With Wilmer Cabrera now running the show for Houston, RGVFC’s new manager got his first taste of live action. Junior Gonzalez joined the club from the Seattle Sounders’ organization. Juan “Charly” Flores is a fan of his new boss. “Coach Gonzalez, and the rest of the coaching staff, are amazing. I think every coach has their own different type of playing, his way of playing is staying compact and not splitting open lanes for a through pass.”
Check out some of the footage from the McAllen trip, and familiar faces, in this week’s episode of The Slice.