Roughed Up By Real Monarchs
For the Toros, it was similar to their approach at Timbers 2 earlier this season. They sat back and absorbed pressure and the attack. Eventually, they got beat. Chandler Hoffman found Richard Ledezma on an open run into the box. The 17-year-old was able to beat Nico Corti, after the Toros’ keeper dove the wrong way.
After conceding a goal, the attack plan didn’t seem to change much for the visitors. They tried, too often, to break down opponents off the dribble or simply pass the ball back. The USL’s broadcast picked up a lot of audio from Gerson Echeverry and not a lot of it was a glowing review of his team’s performance. The manager was encouraging more passes forward and more movement.
Unfortunately, it was Real Monarchs that went forward and they added a second half goal, courtesy of Masta Kacher. Bryce Marion marked the inside runner and nobody picked up Kacher towards the far post. The scoreline would hold 2-0.
RGVFC was without usual starters Todd Wharton, Aldo Quintanilla, Matias Zaldivar, and Omar Ontiveros. Also, Conor Donovan signed up permanently last week. All those players a were training with the Houston Dynamo and could see action in the first team’s US Open Cup fixture this evening. More on the short term agreements later on in this article.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Nico Corti: I know, it’s unusual to give the goalkeeper special kudos after conceding two goals, but it’s warranted this time. The rookie made seven saves and kept the Toros within striking distance.
Pablo Aguilar: Playing higher up the pitch than he has in other matches, Aguilar completed 80% of his passes, including three key ones, according to Opta. He also won three fouls.
Bryce Marion: It wasn’t a perfect first start for the youngster, but Marion looked under control on the ball and did well in his distribution. He was facing an elite USL attack and didn’t look over matched.
Nicolas Perea on serving as captain vs. Real Monarchs SLC:
“I’ve worn the captain’s armband in previous stages of my career, so this wasn’t anything new or different. Todd wasn’t with us, so the coaches trusted me with the responsibility for this game. But, my approach was the same as it always is: work hard, lead by example, and try to get the best out of my teammates.”
Nico Corti on what the club needs to do to defeat T2 on Saturday:
“We will need a balanced performance. Defensive discipline for 90 minutes is crucial and being able to test their defenders and goalkeeper throughout the match, so that we can put them on their back foot.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-4-7)
Walking away from that match against Monarchs SLC, it’s hard to find many positives. The game plan early on was clearly to sit back and defend, but they still allowed an early goal. There wasn’t much coordination in the attack, often a turnover from dribbling too much or a hopeful long pass. Let’s not dwell on this match...
I know the organization seems to like Aguilar as a defensive midfielder, but he looks great as a number 10, as we all knew already. His dribbling in compact areas and vision can open up things for the RGVFC strikers. Marion and Sheldon Sullivan got their first starts on the back line. Depending on how the Dynamo fare in the USOC, they could find themselves in more prominent roles over the new few weeks. Speaking of the Open Cup, seven players were officially signed to short term agreements with Houston: Quintanilla, Wharton, Ontiveros, Zaldivar, Manny Padilla, Chuy Enriquez, and John Montano.
One thing we can relish on is the depth at defensive midfield for the Toros. With Wharton, Perea, Jorginho James, and Pablo Aguilar, Echeverry has options and can mix up the pairings to give a different look.
The Bad Guys: Portland Timbers 2 (7-4-2)
Simply put, these aren’t the Timbers 2 of yesteryear. Typically a bottom feeder in the USL’s Western Conference, Portland sits 4th in the current standings with a quality roster of first team loanees and promising players.
Thankfully for the Toros, T2 may not have their full selection of options on Saturday. The first team plays a US Open Cup match tonight and will likely hold onto some of the players they normally loan down. From the squad that faced San Antonio FC on Saturday, Augustine Williams has four goals and Jeremy Ebobisse is working his way back from injury. He scored a lovely goal against RGV earlier this season.
The Dirty Details
Saturday, 6/9, at 7:30 PM CDT
RGVFC Toros vs. Portland Timbers 2 at H-E-B Park
Watch it live on ESPN+