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The Bull & Its Horns: Midseason Marks

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At the halfway point of the 2017 USL season, let’s look at how each Toros’ player is performing.

Jorginho James is not afraid of playing physical in the midfield.
Christian Inoferio

With the Toros off until July 19th, when they host OC Blues, this week is a perfect time for the midseason report card. The club sits just outside the playoff picture and they’ve lost three of their last five. Captain Charlie Ward has signed a deal with the MLS affiliate Houston Dynamo, reuniting with former RGV manager Wilmer Cabrera.

A year ago today, RGVFC was two matches into an eventual eight match scoreless streak. That run surged them towards the top of the Western Conference and the hope will be this July having a similar effect.

Without further adieu, here are the breakdowns for each player on the Toros’ roster:

GK Marco Carducci: The 20 year old, former Vancouver Whitecaps’ keeper has made one appearance for the Toros. He allowed three goals on the road in a loss to Reno 1868 FC. Two of the three goals were relatively soft.

GK Borja Angoitia: He has been the club’s first choice keeper this season. For the most part, he controls his penalty area well. But, when he allows one goal, it tends to become a few goals. In eight matches, he’s allowed 14 goals.

The 25 year old from Spain makes the routine saves and plays well with the ball at his feet, but he doesn’t often make the miraculous saves that help steal points in close matches.

DEF Kai Greene: His value is nearly equal on the backline as it is to the attack, and both have really high value. The uber athletic fullback consistently pushes the ball forward and has improved his crossing.

He also uses his blistering pace and instincts to snuff out attacks when the time is right.

DEF Victor Garza: Think of him as the 2017 version of George Malki. He’s a sturdy defender that has good pace in the attack. He is crafty on the ball, and has been an unexpected chance creator for the Toros.

He needs his play defensively to become as consistent as his offense.

DEF Robbie Sagel: When Taylor Hunter isn’t loaned down to the Valley, Sagel occupies the center back position opposite Ivan Magalhaes. The 4th round selection of the Dynamo in this year’s Superdraft has struggled at times with quicker forwards.

He’s able to use his size and strength to hold his ground on set pieces and crosses, but he gets turned around too often in the run of play and doesn’t always have the speed to recover.

DEF Ivan Magalhaes: In his second professional season, Ivan is blossoming into an all around defender. He leads the Toros in clearances and interceptions, and has consistently come up big when the club needed a hero defensively.

He’s playing with more confidence this year and it shows in his tackling and passing. With Ward departing, he leads the team in passes as well, completing 80% of his 643 attempts.

MID Jorginho James: Attacking players and midfielders cannot enjoy playing against the hulking Jamaican defensive midfielder. He doesn’t mind risking a foul to secure possession for the Toros.

He is rapidly getting better on the ball and in distribution. He also scored the goal of the season so far for the club, showcasing his soccer IQ and striking ability on the long distance score. MLS clubs looking for a true defensive midfielder may come calling.

MID Camilo Monroy: The only downside to Monroy this season has been his health. The Colombian teenager completely changes the team’s dynamic when he plays, but he’s battled injuries all year, limiting him to five matches.

His pace is electric and he’s incredibly creative on the ball. He frustrates defenders and draws a lot of fouls. The more he plays, the better the Toros season will go.

FWD Ruben Luna: Arguably, Luna is the only true #9 on the roster. This season, he has not been as effective as last year. He’s a classic lone striker, excelling when he can receive service and hold up play. Due to the Toros’ inconsistent identity, he’s not getting as many chances to score.

The former FC Dallas man is clinical from the penalty spot and a handful for any central defender. If the possession style attack returns for good, Luna may see a second half scoring surge.

MID Eric Bird: Early on this year, Eric Bird seemed to be one of the only steady presences for the club. He was applying nonstop pressure defensively and distributing the ball well on the attack.

Since then, he’s bounced around a bit in the formation and has been out of action while with the Dynamo. He still brings his best each match and will always be a central figure in the RGVFC attack. Bird probably fits best as a #8 for the Toros.

MID TJ Casner: He struggled to get match time early this season, and I have no idea why. Casner was one of the best offensive talents on the 2016 Toros, and when given a chance, has shown the same thing this season.

He’s tall with enough pace to trouble outside backs and his vision and crossing are top class. His fearlessness attacking defenders help create chances for his teammates.

MID Emilio Garcia: Like Bird, earlier this season Garcia was one of the few constants. He excels in traffic and can break down defenders with his dribbling ability. He’s good on set pieces and leads the club in chances created.

His main downfall is trying to do too much. He attempts to take on too many defenders at once and gives up possession. His effort and energy drive the club however, and he draws a lot of the clubs fouls.

MID Todd Wharton: Bird’s college teammate has impressed in his first full season with the club. He is versatile in the attack and scored a quality goal to beat Swope Park.

He’s done a disservice when lined up as the lone forward. The logic is that he has a wider array of skills than Luna, but it clearly isn’t his natural position.

MID Christian Lucatero: The Dynamo prodigy is still struggling to break into the first choice lineup. He’s played under 200 minutes on the campaign.

When he gets a chance, he still shows flashes of why he’s so highly regarded. He’s crafty on the ball, and he sees the pitch incredibly well. Luca absolutely needs match time to continue to develop his skill.

FWD Kyle Murphy: Similar to Wharton, Murphy is not being best utilized when he’s in an unnatural position. He is a striker, but played consistently on the wing.

He’s improved on his play out wide though, and has scored two goals this season. Murphy’s a good combination of size and speed.

DEF Leo Ayala: The Dynamo Academy product is getting his biggest chance the last few weeks. After barely featuring last season and most of this year, Ayala has been serviceable on the back line in his three starts. He lacks size and top end speed, but he’s smart and not afraid to get physical.

Players with under 10 minutes of match time: Alex Ochoa, Michael Kirk, Juanito Garcia, Jessie Ortiz and Omar Ontiveros.

Top Three Prospects:

Kai Greene: He’s arguably the club’s most improved player. Combining his natural gifts with an improved presence on the ball make him a prized prospect at outside back. As his dribbling and crossing continue to get better, he will catch the eye of MLS clubs.

Jorginho James: The Jamaican is physically ready for the next level. He makes crunching tackles in the midfield, can hold the ball up, and has decent vision going forward. His instincts are underrated and he takes away huge chunks of the middle of the park.

Eric Bird: Starting both US Open Cup matches for the Dynamo is a good sign for the midfielder. He plays hard for the full 90 minutes plus, and can play effectively at multiple positions in the midfield.

Honorable Mention: Ivan Magalhaes and Camilo Monroy

Which RGVFC player has caught your eye? Who do you want to see more of? Leave a comment below and vote in the poll!

Poll

Who is your RGVFC midseason MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Camilo Monroy
    (2 votes)
  • 12%
    Kai Greene
    (6 votes)
  • 12%
    Ivan Magalhaes
    (6 votes)
  • 50%
    Eric Bird
    (24 votes)
  • 20%
    Jorginho James
    (10 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now