Unfortunately, More Of The Same For RGVFC
The Toros played two matches last week against Orange County Soccer Club, one in South Texas and the other in Southern California. They didn’t look overly impressive in either. Thankfully, they came away with a 1-1 draw in the midweek match, thanks to a converted penalty by Eric Bird. The match on the West Coast went much worse. OC dominated RGVFC to the tune of a 4-0 result.
Ruben Luna was injured early in the first match and didn’t appear in the second. He was replaced at striker for the match at OC by Francisco Pungo. The tall, athletic Colombian striker was making his RGV debut. Marco Carducci was in goal for both matches. We also got to see extended minutes for Christian Lucatero, who is inexperienced, but extremely talented.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of The Matches Kai Greene: He continues to show his improvement on the ball and in his crossing. Greene is always a dangerous option for the Toros.
Eric Bird: Knocking home a shot from the spot, Bird was the only player to score over the two matches last week. He is assuming a big chunk of Charlie Ward’s distribution duties.
TJ Casner: The lanky winger earned the penalty that Bird converted. He is consistently pressing the action offensively and does a good job creating chances for himself and his teammates.
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (6-8-3)
It seems the exodus of talent has finally caught up to the Toros. When you take away players like Memo Rodriguez, Callum Irving, George Malki, Kevin Garcia, and now Charlie Ward, you can’t expect the same results as last season.
Changes need to be made. Junior Gonzalez does not need to be fired. He’s a quality coach that will show his true class by the adjustments that must happen. Ward is gone, and you cannot expect to replace his elite level passing with one player. A possession based, defensive style only works when you can, ya know, possess the ball and play defense. The Toros have been outscored 15-4 in their last five matches.
They need to switch the style. I would keep Pungo as the primary striker. He has more pace and versatility than Luna. I would also allow players like Camilo Monroy and Lucatero to break players down more on the dribble, Casner as well. Eric Bird is a versatile player, but expecting him to be Charlie Ward isn’t fair to him. He needs to be an attacking player and the attack needs to be more creative and free.
On the defensive end, their needs to be better communication and positioning by the center backs. Robbie Sagel has been getting turned around too often, or just blown past by quick forwards. The goalkeepers haven’t been world beaters either. Honestly, the Toros may not be a top club in the Western Conference this year, but they are talented enough to be a playoff team. Currently sitting 12th, they need to turn things around fast.
The Bad Guys: Real Monarchs (14-2-2), Portland Timbers 2 (1-15-3)
Honestly, this is salt in the wound. While struggling to be competitive lately, the Toros will be visited tonight by Real Monarchs, the best team in the USL. Chandler Hoffman has been a star for the Real Salt Lake affiliate and they are tied with Reno 1868 FC for the most goals in the league.
After playing the best team midweek, the Toros will take on the Western Conference cellar dwellers, Timbers 2. They’ve scored the third least goals in the USL and have allowed the fourth most. They only have one win and that came back in April. If there is a team to get on track against, it will be T2.
The Dirty Details:
Tonight, USL’s ESPN Match of the Week vs. Real Monarchs
7pm CT on ESPN3 from H-E-B Park
Saturday vs Portland Timbers 2
10pm CT. Watch it live HERE.