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The Bull & Its Horns: Toros Playoff Chances Fading Fast

Winless in two matches last week, RGVFC is trending towards missing the postseason.

Kai Greene scored the lone goal last week for RGVFC
Christian Inoferio

Two Matches, No Wins

Last week was a double match week for RGVFC. On Wednesday, they faced USL bottom dweller Portland Timbers 2. Neither side scored until after the 90th minute. After receiving a weak yellow card earlier in the match, Ivan Magalhaes was forced to knock down a Timbers 2 player that would have had an easy run into the box. That challenge earned him a second yellow, equaling a poorly timed red card. Timbers 2 capitalized almost immediately with a goal. Looking like another defeat to lowly Portland was on the horizon, RGV was able to muster some magic, with Kai Greene heading home the ball in the 93rd minute. The match finished 1-1 at H-E-B Park on a night that the community came out to support the club and their Houston neighbors with donations.

Sunday, the Toros faced off with LA Galaxy 2 in a rainy Carson, California. I was able to withstand the downpour, taking in the match in person. I noticed Christian Lucatero would be starting during warm-ups, which was exciting. And as I tweeted, I unfortunately also spotted Ariel Lassiter, a.k.a. The Goal Puppy, down from the Galaxy’s first team.

A ridiculous strike from him in the first half was the difference. Neither team could put home countless quality chances the rest of the way, with RGV dropping a 1-0 result on the road.

Ballin’ Bulls:

Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Week Kai Greene: His header against Portland was the only thing preventing the Toros from losing both matches last week. He was active as always in both the attack and defense.

Christian Lucatero: The Dynamo youngster was impressing in a match and a half of soccer last week. His passing and vision make him a huge x-factor for the club. He unfortunately missed a few big chances to score.

Borja Angoitia: The Spanish goalkeeper made four big saves against Los Dos to keep the score tight. Both goals that he allowed last week were virtually unstoppable. He’s played well after getting a few matches in a row.

Talkin’ Toros:

Kyle Murphy on the club’s determination to make the playoffs:

“Everybody is very motivated, from the players to the staff. We all are working hard to do all we can in order to make it into the playoffs. We feel we have had some unfortunate results while playing well. Every game is a playoff game now for us, we will continue to keep fighting day in and day out to make it happen.”

The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (7-12-7)

Carrying a five match streak of no wins, the playoffs are going to be an uphill climb for the Toros. The biggest issue for the club this season has been locating a consistent scorer. They’ve only scored multiple goals in 7 of their 26 matches this season. Part of that is the search for a bonafide striker. Kyle Murphy has looked good, but doesn’t look incredibly comfortable as the lone man up top. Ruben Luna has been ineffective after coming on as a massive signing towards the middle of last season. Francisco Pungo has potential, but hasn’t found the net or seen a ton of time as the primary target.

The other chunk of that equation is the lack of buildup behind the striker. Charlie Ward, the club’s distribution wizard for a season and a half, is now with Houston. Also lost from last year’s 2nd seed club is Memo Rodriguez. He was a dangerous attacking option that demanded the defense’s attention. One positive for the club during this winless streak has been the emergence of Lucatero. The Dynamo Homegrown man played in both matches last week, and after speaking with Junior Gonzalez briefly after the match Sunday, could get some more chances as the season winds down. He is incredibly fun to watch and wildly talented passing the ball. With time, he can become a dangerous #10 for the Toros, and eventually Houston.

The Bad Guys: Sacramento Republic FC (10-8-6)

Similar to their opponent Saturday, Republic FC is currently in a bit of a rut. They’re winless in four matches and are trying to solidify their playoff position. They sit sixth among the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference and will look to take advantage of a struggling Toros team this weekend. They beat RGVFC 6-2 in their last meeting. Sacramento added Villyan Bijev last week for the final push this season, on loan from Portland Timbers 2. He will pose a dangerous threat, along with Trevin Caesar and Tyler Blackwood.

The Dirty Details:

9/9 at 7:30pm CDT

H-E-B Park

Sacramento Republic FC vs. RGVFC

Watch it live HERE.