Two Matches, Two Points
In two very different matches, the end result was the same for RGVFC. On Wednesday, the Toros traveled to Fresno and came away with a 2-2 draw. Then over the weekend, they hosted their rival, San Antonio FC. The first South Texas Derby of the season ended 0-0.
On their visit to Fresno, RGVFC showed resilience. They were outplayed for large chunks of the match and twice went down by a goal. But, both times, they battled back. Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez erased a deficit created by a Conor Donovan own goal. The winger laced a perfect effort into the top corner for his first tally as a Toro. Then, after conceding a goal from a quick counter attack, RGVFC came back again. First, Jordan Jones found the net, but he was called for a very weak foul, something that went as far as to bother the USL broadcasters. Not to be silenced, Jones would find Aldo Quintanilla in the 73rd minute for the equalizer.
After a series of Wednesday matches, the Toros finally played on the weekend, hosting San Antonio on Saturday. The first South Texas Derby of 2018 was a well played match, but one that ended scoreless. Diego Restrepo was huge for the visitors, earning a USL Team of the Week nod, and Nico Corti pitched another home shutout across from him.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Matches Chuy Enriquez: The tricky winger scored his first goal of the season on a lovely, curling effort against Fresno. (It’s up for Goal of the Week, so go vote!) He almost did the same against San Antonio, but Diego Restrepo made a huge stop. Enriquez was able to win eight fouls over the two matches, mostly due to his tantalizing skill on the ball.
Nico Corti: Tallying his third straight clean sheet at home, Corti made three saves against SAFC. He was left exposed on both goals against Fresno and made two saves.
Aldo Quintanilla: RGV’s striker scored the equalizer against Fresno midweek before firing five shots against San Antonio. He forced Restrepo into an early save and did well to press the visitors’ back line.
Matias Zaldivar on what the attack needs to do against Swope Park:
“Continue attacking the way we are doing, but be more forceful.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-3-5)
It was a solid week for the Toros but not a spectacular one. They were able to take two points from two difficult matches, but the club must start adding some wins to make a push up the table. They are looking very solid defensively, which is a recipe for success in any league. The attack comes and goes, but there are solid pieces in place to make them dangerous.
RGVFC added another dangerous piece recent. Dynamo Academy product Bryce Marion arrived in the Valley and he made his debut against San Antonio. He was a star at Stanford and finished with five assists last season.
The Bad Guys: Swope Park Rangers (4-2-3)
Sporting Kansas City’s USL affiliate came flying out of the gates this season. Swope Park scored eight goals in their first two matches, both wins. They’ve scored the same amount of goals in their last seven matches combined.
Kharlton Belmar is the head of the Swope Park snake. He’s buried eight goals already this season, three ahead of the second place player in the USL. Hadji Barry has added four assists and combines with Belmar to make a dangerous, speedy duo in the attack.
The two-time reigning Western Conference champions are an elite passing team yet again. They lead the USL in total passes and passing accuracy %. Their weakness may be their defense, allowing the fourth most goals in the league.
The Dirty Details
Saturday, 5/19, at 7:30PM CDT
RGVFC vs. Swope Park Rangers at H-E-B Park
Watch it live on ESPN+ and visit the Match Center HERE.