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2018 USL Preview: Everything You Need to Know About RGVFC

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Part of SB Nation’s official 2018 USL preview, we take a look at the RGVFC Toros.

Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez dribbles the ball this preseason against the Houston Dynamo
Christian Inoferio

Rio Grande Valley FC Toros

MLS Affiliate: Houston Dynamo (Hybrid)

2017 Record: 9-8-15 (35 points), 11th position in the Western Conference

Key Additions: Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez, Conor Donovan, Nico Corti

Key Returnees: Todd Wharton, Kai Greene, Jorginho James

Key Losses: Eric Bird, Ivan Magalhaes, Charlie Ward

What Happened Last Year?

After a great inaugural season in 2016, the club experienced a mass exodus last offseason. That included not only star players like Memo Rodriguez, Callum Irving, Kevin Garcia, and others, but also manager Wilmer Cabrera. The club struggled to find an identity last season under new head coach Junior Gonzalez. To make matters worse, in the middle of the year, they lost captain Charlie Ward to the Dynamo.

The Toros didn’t have consistency in any area on the pitch. Their attack lacked any danger. They scored 37 goals, tied for the second lowest total in the Western Conference. On the backline, they couldn’t find the same success they enjoyed in 2016. It was a rough year for RGVFC, despite opening the beautiful H-E-B Park.

2018 will be a success if..

The club finds an identity. After being one of the elite possession based teams in 2016, the Toros struggled to maintain that style of play and didn’t thrive in the counter attack as well. New manager Gerson Echeverry will be tasked with setting the team’s identity and getting the club back on track.

Players To Watch in 2018

Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez: The winger spent recent years with the reserve side of Liga MX’s Club Tijuana. He’s exciting on the ball and can beat defenders 1-v-1.

Todd Wharton: Returning for his third season in the Valley, Wharton plays the main distributor role from the defensive midfield. After getting time with the Dynamo this preseason, I anticipate a big campaign from him.

Conor Donovan: After joining the club from Orlando City B, Donovan’s been the most consistent player this preseason. His steady play at center back would be a huge boost to the club.

Kai Greene: One of the USL’s Top Five Defenders To Watch, Greene is a supreme athlete. He brings his leaping ability and pace from right back and continues to improve his crossing.

Prediction

RGVFC will be right in the thick of the playoff race. There seems to be a commitment to discipline and staying organized at the back. A revamped defense and solid midfield lead the Toros back to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.