No Goals, One Point
RGVFC continues their mastery of finishing a match level, especially at home. The Toros played to a 0-0 draw against Phoenix Rising FC, bringing their home record to 1-1-7. Yes, that’s seven draws.
In the first half at H-E-B Park, it was the home side getting the better chances. Nicolas Perea had a header bounce over the bar, Bryce Marion made the keeper work, and Matias Zaldivar rolled a ball just past the far post.
The second half was the Michael Nelson Show. On loan from the Dynamo, he made six total saves and some of them were spectacular. Facing the league’s highest scoring attack with players like Jason Johnson, Solomon Asante, and Chris Cortez, the Texas native kept the clean sheet.
Possession finished 53/47% in favor of Phoenix, with the visiting side also holding a lead in shots, shots on target, and corners. Despite all of those advantages, the scoreline finished level and each team took a point.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Michael Nelson: Not a bad professional debut, huh? The Houston Dynamo loanee turned away all six shots he faced, some more difficult than others. His shutout earned him a place on the USL Team of the Week.
Bryce Marion: The Matrix was able to press the action down the right flank, using his speed and skill to create danger in the attack. He had a quality shot on goal and played a great ball to Matias Zaldivar for his close chance.
Todd Wharton: Business as usual for the Toros’ captain. He completed 87% of his passes, had three tackles, and won three fouls. He was crucial to controlling the pace of the match.
Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez on how the club can finally break out offensively:
“The only problem right now is finishing the play by scoring the goal. I don’t think we’re having trouble creating the chances. We’ve had several chances, but the ball just seems to not find the back of the net.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-6-8)
Based on the first half against Rising FC, you would come away frustrated the club finished level. They had great chances but simply couldn’t find the net. In the second half, you would feel grateful to come away with anything. They faced a barrage from the dangerous Phoenix attack and earned a clean sheet. A lot of that was thanks to Michael Nelson, but the defense was also quality against a potent offense.
The club needs Aldo Quintanilla to assert himself. While he did well in his appearances with the Dynamo in the US Open Cup, he hasn’t scored in RGVFC’s previous four matches. As the club’s primary striker, they need more consistent production from him.
Rookies out of college are playing big parts on this year’s team. Manny Padilla has showcased the ability to be a legitimate lockdown fullback. Bryce Marion is beginning to gain confidence and is using his speed to create chances. Kyle Adams has been one of the most consistent players for Gerson Echeverry. Lastly, in goal, Nico Corti and Nelson have come up big with shutout performances. While the present is frustrating for RGVFC, the future is bright.
The Toros are still looking for their first away victory of the season. If the attack can match the defense’s quality against Saint Louis, they could take three points on Saturday.
The Bad Guys: Saint Louis FC (5-5-6)
RGV’s opening opponent in 2018, Saint Louis FC sits just outside the playoff picture. They enter Saturday’s match coming off a 2-2 draw with Sacramento Republic FC. Kyle Greig leads the club with six goals and Lewis Hilton has a club-high four assists.
Saint Louis sits in the middle of a lot of statistical categories: T-17th in goals, T-11th in goals conceded, 12th in passing, T-15 in passing accuracy. They are top to bottom a very average USL squad and with a non-dominant home record of 3-2-2, RGVFC could score the upset on Saturday.
The Dirty Details
When: Saturday, 6/30, at 7:30 PM Central Time
Who: RGVFC vs. Saint Louis FC
Where: Toyota Stadium