Embarrassment on ESPN
Last week could’ve been a coming out party for the Toros on ESPN 3 when they took on Sacramento Republic FC. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the opposite. Republic FC dominated the match and RGVFC.
Trevin Caesar, the USL Player of the Week, notched a hat trick for the hosts and added a smooth rabona assist. Republic FC blitzed the Toros up and down the pitch, launching lightning counter attacks for which RGV’s defense had no answer. They allowed 19 shots and Borja Angoitia was in the firing range all night.
TJ Casner and Kyle Murphy scored in the second half to keep the Toros from getting blanked. It was a rough performance on national TV.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match TJ Casner: The former Clemson winger has taken advantage of more playing time lately. He scored the Toros’ first goal on a well taken free kick. His pace and versatility out wide give any backline trouble.
Charlie Ward: Back in the starting XI and wearing the captain’s armband, Ward completed 95 passes and had a 97.9 % passing accuracy.
Kyle Murphy: Casner’s former college teammate added the second goal. He’s proven to be a quality, attacking substitute late in matches.
Todd Wharton on the importance of bouncing back after a big loss:
“It's important to win every game but especially coming off a loss like that. We've got a little break now to refocus and get prepared for these next two road games and get back on track. We know we are a good team so there is no reason to panic.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (5-6-2)
Their loss to Sacramento may have been the worst loss in club history. The only other match close was also a midweek loss, last year to Swope Park 4-0. The back line got turned around far too easily, and the club overall lacked urgency. RGVFC in flux due to the Houston Dynamo US Open Cup run, and their struggles can be partially traced to that. Lack of training time together, and usual mainstays not always in their position or the lineup in general hurt the club’s chemistry.
This was another match that the identity was not clear for the Toros. Without a strong possession based attack, they settled for sending the ball forward hoping for success, rather than building from the back. The club needs to be consistent and establish their play style each match. They made their run last summer to the #2 seed in the West, hopefully they can do the same this year.
The Bad Guys: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (6-5-5)
They handed San Antonio FC their first loss of the season last time out. So, thank you for that! They’re 3rd in the USL in shots this season. The biggest key to their attack is balance. There isn’t one player you can lock in on, it’s the entire attack. Kevaughn Frater, Masta Kacher and Jordan Burt are all hard to stop. While visiting clubs have to deal with the heat at H-E-B Park, the Toros will have to face the high altitude in Colorado Springs.
Last year, the Switchbacks and Toros played some closely contested, physical contests. Colorado Springs ended RGV’s epic scoreless streak in a 2-1 defeat in South Texas. They finished just the 3rd seed in the Western Conference last year, and like the Toros, made a first round exit.