Wharton Hears A Hoo
I’ll be honest, I’ve been saving that headline for the match that Todd Wharton scored his first goal. The Virginia Cavalier scored the lone goal of RGVFC’s win over Swope Park Rangers on Saturday.
Not only did one UVA alum score the goal, the club’s other former Cavalier, Eric Bird, provided the cheeky assist. The connection made its way to the USL Goals of the Week.
The match overall was not a masterpiece by RGV despite the win. Swope Park’s possession was sloppy and they didn’t seem to have a clear plan of attack. That is definitely at least partially due to the Toros’ defense.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Eric Bird: His assist was possibly even more beautiful than the goal. His perfectly timed and delivered backheel set up Wharton perfectly. He again was nonstop energy for the Toros offensively and defensively.
Todd Wharton: Wharton scored his first professional goal and it was a rocket. It’s up for goal of the week and was the only tally of the match. The midfielder was also named to the USL Team of the Week.
Jorginho James: The hulking Jamaican midfielder was back controlling the midfield with his physical play. His defensive mindset is a perfect compliment to his offensive counterpart Charlie Ward.
Eric Bird talks about assisting on Wharton’s first professional goal: “It felt great. Todd and I have come a long way together both on and off the field so it was pretty cool to be involved with his first goal. It's funny because before the game he was telling me he didn't sleep much the night before because he was visualizing scoring goals in the game. Most of them coming from one of my passes. Don't think we could have drawn it up better.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (4-3-0)
The Toros won back to back matches and moved to above .500 for the first time this young season. The club has been scrappy, and that has somewhat balanced out a less possession dominant style. Charlie Ward is now reunited with Jorginho James in the midfield and they are, in my opinion, the top duo in that area across the USL. James' crunching tackles and physical presence provides Ward the cover to operate the offense unabated. The two forward formation has been a more fruitful approach so far allowing Ruben Luna to serve as an impact substitute.
Ivan Magalhaes and the Toros’ defense have been great. They’ve continually shut down high scoring attacks often times looking like the stout squad from last year.
The Bad Guys: LA Galaxy II (2-5-1)
It has not been a strong start for Los Dos. Like RGVFC, they lost their 2016 manager to their MLS affiliate with Curt Onalfo taking over for Bruce Arena. The club has 18 yellow cards in only eight matches and they’ve conceded the second most goals in all of the USL with 16. A mainstay of Los Dos the past couple seasons has been Ariel Lassiter. Known as the Goal Puppy, Lassiter is still looking to open his 2017 account. He scored last year against RGVFC in Los Angeles.