A Disappointing Draw
Draws can feel like a fair result, a loss, or a win, depending on the match. Saturday’s result for RGVFC certainly feels like a lost opportunity. After leading 2-0 in the 79th minute, the Toros finished level with Sacramento Republic FC at H-E-B Park.
The first half saw a couple chances for either side. RGVFC’s biggest chance was captain Todd Wharton striking the crossbar with an off-balance effort. Cameron Iwasa had a shot from distance slightly test Nico Corti. But, at the half, it was scoreless in South Texas.
Five minutes after the break, the Toros would snap the tie. Aldo Quintanilla went down in the box and was awarded a penalty. The referee looked to make the wrong call, with the players seemingly both going shoulder-to-shoulder. Either way, Wharton stepped up and buried the chance, matching his goal total from last season.
Republic FC received their own poorly officiated penalty kick in the 76th minute. Villyan Bijev took on Kai Greene 1V1 and as he entered the box, he appeared to take a dive with Greene poking at the ball. In the wise words of Rasheed Wallace, “ball don’t lie.” Corti was able to save and control Keven Aleman’s effort from the spot.
Minutes later, the Toros would double their lead when Jorginho James hooked a shot in from outside the area. The hulking, Jamaican midfielder was making his season debut. Unfortunately, Iwasa would pull one back in the 80th minute. Sacramento was awarded a free kick and, as the referee told a Toros player to move back, they played it quick. The following cross from the left side found the former Swope Park man, who headed it over Corti.
Another cross from that left flank doomed the Toros. In stoppage time, an in swinging cross with pace deflected off of RGVFC’s Conor Donovan and found the back of the net. The match would end level, 2-2 in frustrating fashion for the hosts.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Jorginho James: After not appearing against Saint Louis in the opener, the third-year Toro made his presence felt against Republic FC. He scored the club’s second goal on a beautiful long distance strike and connected on 86% of his passes, 82% in the attacking half. Gigi also added four tackles and four interceptions.
Nico Corti: With his club only up by a goal, Corti made a massive save on a penalty kick to keep the lead for the time being. Not only did he stop the shot, but he was able to control the ball to prevent a rebound chance.
Todd Wharton: The captain coverted his chance from the spot and tallied 91% completion of his passes. He’s done well in the primary distributor role, just as he did last year when Charlie Ward received a first team contract. Wharton was recognized on the USL’s Team of the Week.
Matias Zaldivar on how the Toros can close out victories when leading:
“Be more calm and more smart.”
Jorginho James on the importance of RGVFC getting a win after two draws to start the year:
“It’s very important for us to get the win this weekend because we’ve been scoring and playing good soccer for a young team. I know it’s going to be a tough one, but we definitely need to win because of what happened at home in our first two matches.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (0-0-2)
After two matches, there are absolutely positives to take away from this Toros’ side. They control the midfield well, whether it’s Todd Wharton and Pablo Aguilar or Jorginho James. Despite having less possession and a lower passing percentage, RGVFC was able to primarily control the match.
Gerson Echeverry made a few changes from the opening day lineup, including changing three attacking players. Aldo Quintanilla saw his first action and played well, assisting on James’ goal. He was signed after appearing in the club’s open tryouts. Echoing the comments Echeverry made postgame, I love this year’s depth. You have multiple players vying for every position, which breeds serious competition. Last year, the club was thin in certain spots and it allowed players to potentially get complacent, knowing they couldn’t be replaced.
I’m impressed with Echeverry early on. As you can see in the video below via Down In The Valley, he’s very animated and very passionate about his team. Through two matches, he’s made solid choices and put his club in a position to succeed.
The Bad Guys: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (1-2-0)
After an opening match victory over LA Galaxy II, Colorado Springs has lost back-to-back 1-0 results. Out of 42 total attempts, they have mustered only 12 shots on goal. The club ranks 27th in the USL in passing %.
RGVFC will get to see a familiar face in the Switchbacks FC backline. Taylor Hunter has started all three matches this season. He was a consistent performer for the Toros over the last two seasons. AJ Ajeakwa is the most dangerous attacking player for Colorado Springs, leading the club in shots and scored against Los Dos. Jordan Burt, who plays as a midfielder or fullback, and left back Josh Suggs do a great job of adding to the attack.
The Toros won both matchups last season.
The Dirty Details
Saturday, April 7th, at 7PM Central Time
RGVFC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field
Watch it live HERE.