Year Founded: 2016
Affiliation: Hybrid, with the Houston Dynamo
2016 Record: 14-9-7, 2nd in the Western Conference
2016 Playoffs: Loss in the first round 3-2 to OKC
Key Additions: Borja Angoitia, Francisco Pungo
Key Departures: Callum Irving, Devin Perales, Coach Wilmer Cabrera
Projected Starting XI: 4-2-3-1/4-1-1-3-1
GK: Angoitia DEF: Magalhaes, Greene, Garza, Sagel MID: Ward, Bird, Garcia, Casner, Murphy FWD: Luna
2016 was the debut season for Rio Grande Valley FC. They started off decent, and then in the summer, went on a 10 game unbeaten streak, that included 758 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. They ended up finishing second in the Western Conference regular season standings.
Head coach Wilmer Cabrera established his club’s identity early on, as a juggernaut at possessing the ball. He was hired by the first team Houston Dynamo, as their new manager. Five of his former Toros’ players have joined him, including last year’s captain Kevin Garcia, and former Dynamo Homegrown product Memo Rodriguez. Those five players will be lead candidates to join the Toros on a match to match basis in 2017. This year, Junior Gonzalez, a former Seattle Sounders developmental coach, takes over a largely intact roster.
Why You Should Watch RGVFC In 2017: The club’s possession, and ball movement was second to none in the USL. They will also be opening up H-E-B Park this season, which is also regarded as the best in the league.
Three Players To Watch:
Charlie Ward: Clockwork Charlie played every second of the Toros’ season last year, and was the conductor of the attack. The former Stoke City and Aston Villa youth player is an elite distributor of the ball.
Emilio Garcia: Hailing from Mexico, Emilio was a spark plug in the midfield. He is great on the ball, constantly applies pressure, and can make a difference on set pieces.
Ruben Luna: The former FC Dallas man joined RGVFC mid season last year, but made a massive impact. He scored eight goals in 13 matches.
The 2017 Season Will Be A Success if.... the club establishes a clear identity like they did last year under Wilmer Cabrera.