Another Lead, Another Letdown
In a concerning trend for RGVFC, they let another lead slip away in their match with Seattle Sounders 2. Rather than settling for a draw, this time they took the loss 3-2, after leading 2-1 in the second half.
On a rainy Saturday night in Seattle, Sounders 2 pounced on the Toros early. After a giveaway in the midfield, S2 blazed a counter-attack in the first minute. A cross to the far post got past GK Matt Sanchez and was knocked in by Felix Chenkam. RGVFC stayed on their back foot through the next 20 minutes. A miscue from former Toro goalkeeper Calle Brown and hustle from Matias Zaldivar led to an equalizer. Now the playing against the Toros, Brown didn’t kick a ball played back to him with enough urgency and Zaldivar slid in to dispossess him. He was able to stand up and bury the easy finish.
The Toros would take the lead in first-half stoppage time. Victor Garza found Guillermo Delgado, who replaced an injured Aldo Quintanilla, right in front of goal and the striker did the rest.
Sounders 2 would equalize in the 66th minute. Chenkam made a run between Conor Donovan and Kyle Adams and was able to receive a pass and chip the ball past Sanchez. They weren’t done at Cheney Field. In the 82nd minute, Sanchez made an initial save, but couldn’t control the ball. The rebound rolled right in front of the open goal and Azriel Gonzalez beat Kai Greene to it and scored the winner. RGVFC pressed for an equalizer, but Calle Brown made a couple saves in the final minutes to secure three points for the home team.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Matias Zaldivar: Hard work and hustle led to Zaldivar opening the scoring on Saturday. Outside of that goal, he completed 83% of his 35 passes.
Victor Garza: A lovely assist on the second goal highlighted Garza’s match. He created three chances and was dangerous running down the wing.
Guillermo Delgado: After replacing Quintanilla in the first half, Delgado buried his first goal of the season. He led the team with five shots, two going on target.
Todd Wharton on what needs to be corrected after the S2 match:
“Just like the first two games, we need to be able to finish out games and keep our leads. Managing the game and not changing the way we play just because we have a lead.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (0-2-2)
After two draws to open the season, RGVFC has lost their last two outings. While it’s too early to write off the season, the trend of conceding goals late is troubling. Of the eight goals allowed this season, seven of them have come in the second half. Even further, four of those seven second half goals have been scored after the 80th minute. It’s not shocking that a young, inexperienced club would struggle to close out matches, but they will need to improve sooner than later.
For the individual players, I think Pablo Aguilar is sitting too deep. He’s playing next to Todd Wharton in the defensive midfield and completes a high number of passes. However, his vision could do more damage if he’s playing further up in the formation. Victor Garza and Chuy Enriquez were encouraging on the wings and Guillermo Delgado made an impact off the bench. Derek Luke needs to continue working back into full fitness after an injury last season. Matias Zaldivar has been one of the most consistent positive performers early on. The club also debuted a new player on Saturday, Monday Etim. The Nigerian scored twice for Orange County SC last season.
The Bad Guys: Portland Timbers 2 (2-2-1)
Timbers 2 were off this past weekend but got a resounding victory their last time out. They defeated OKC Energy 3-0 on the road. T2 are led by Victor Arboleda and Augustine Williams, who each have two goals. Williams has also added a club-high two assists. Jeremy Ebobisse, the first team’s top 2017 SuperDraft pick, has featured at striker in each of the five matches so far. Andre Lewis is a crucial cog for Timbers 2, averaging 51.5 passes per 90 minutes and completed 80% on the year.
The Portland Timbers USL side has been a bottom dweller in recent years, but they seem to be an improved side in 2018. They have three clean sheets and sit fourth in the USL in shots. Last year, the clubs played twice. Timbers 2 won the first match 2-1 and their second fixture was a 1-1 draw, thanks to a stoppage time equalizer from Kai Greene. Interestingly, RGVFC had a player sent off in both matches.
The Dirty Details
TONIGHT, 9PM Central Time, from Merlo Field
RGVFC vs. Portland Timbers 2
Visit the Match Center HERE and watch live on ESPN+