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Toros welcome Santos Laguna and Las Vegas Lights FC this week

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After another draw, RGVFC will take on the Liga MX champions in a friendly tonight before playing Lights FC in USL action on Saturday

Bryce Marion notched an assist on the Toros’ lone goal against Tulsa.
Christian Inoferio

A Point for Me, A Point For You

For the 10th time this season, an RGVFC match ended level. The Toros played to a league leading double digit draw total against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, finishing 1-1 at H-E-B Park. The biggest difference between this draw and the last couple was that goals were scored. After two straight scoreless affairs, this one at least let fans see the ball go in the net.

The Toros were the better side early, but they could only slightly test Roughnecks GK Fabian Cerda.

Neither team broke through until late in the second half. With about fifteen minutes remaining, Bryce Marion made a play for his team. As Tulsa tried to push the ball forward from their defending half, The Matrix cleanly swiped the ball back for the Toros. The youngster jetted past the Roughnecks defender and fired a perfect ball on the ground to the middle of the area, where Jesus Enriquez blasted it home. Chuy had subbed on less than one minute before.

Unfortunately, the H-E-B Park crowd couldn’t celebrate for very long. Literally on the next possession for Tulsa, they would equalize. Paris Gee and Jesus Ferreira worked a lovely two man game, ending with Gee getting past Sheldon Sullivan to beat Nico Corti.

This match almost didn’t end level. In stoppage time, a long ball over the top found Ferreira running behind the Toros defense. With Corti coming a little ways off his line, Conor Donovan was able to poke the ball away but towards the goal. Birthday boy Kai Greene closed in at the last second to knock the ball out, which may have hit the post or won the match for Tulsa. Thankfully, we’ll never have to know. RGVFC held the edge on possession, shots, and passing accuracy. Another match where the Toros were the better side but must split the points.

Ballin’ Bulls

Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Bryce Marion: Playing as a substitute in this match, The Matrix came up huge for the home side. His steal was great and the ball to Chuy was even better. After showcasing some excitement in recent matches, the Dynamo Academy product finally made it count in the final third.

Matias Zaldivar: He led the attack for RGVFC. Receiving passes from the duo of Nicolas Perea and Todd Wharton, Zaldivar spread the ball around to the offensive players for the Toros. He finished with 56 touches and 82% passing accuracy.

Chuy Enriquez: After two matches being shutout, Chuy broke through for the Toros. Less than a minute after coming off the bench, he got on the end of Marion’s pass and calmly knocked it home on the first touch. Last week, he mentioned needing to finish chances and he kept his word against Tulsa.

Talkin’ Toros

Omar Ontiveros on how the club can finally get a win this weekend:

“We are approaching the same way as we have been, with an attacking mindset, trying to be the team that controls the game. I think that almost every game we have played, we have been the better team. The results just haven’t favored us. I know that one of these games we will come out with a very commanding result. We just have to keep working and preparing mentally for every match.”

Victor Garza discusses the importance of tonight’s friendly:

“I believe these types of games are very important for the people in RGV. Soccer fans in the area are very passionate about Liga MX. in this case, the most important aspect, from my point of view, is having such games gives the team exposure. It helps the players grow in various spots like experience, the mental side of the game, and finding out where we stand in our careers. It’s an eye opener of how much more we need to work and strive to be at the top level of proessional soccer.

The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-6-10)

Finally, the club scored a goal after two straight shutouts. But, they also conceded a goal after two clean sheets. The match against Tulsa was a generally positive one for the Toros, but it still ended all square. This week, the club has two good chances to impress their home fans. First, they play in a friendly tonight against Liga MX champions Santos Laguna. The atmosphere should be great and this will be a chance for Gerson Echeverry to rotate a lot of players in.

Then, they play Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday in a winnable match. As the playoffs become more and more an afterthought, the club needs to develop players and get positive results.

This week, two interesting loans were announced for the Toros. First, let’s cover the simple one. Carlos Small will join the club for the remainder of the season from Arabe Unido in his native Panama. He is a dangerous, 23-year-old striker that brings goalscoring help to a Toros’ side that needs it. He’s played for the Panamanian youth national teams and in a friendly for the senior squad. Small will look to compete with Aldo Quintanilla for the starting spot up top.

The other loan deal is more complicated. MLS and the Houston Dynamo announced Tyler Deric was no longer suspended, following a domestic violence charge last fall. In the release announcing his reinstatement, it also mentioned he will be loaned to the Toros immediately. Without diving into his legal issues, it’s going to be interesting to see what Houston’s plan is for him long term. Domestic violence is a serious issue and the negative perception of him due to this case may not be worth it. But, for now at least, they are keeping him around. That brings us to Deric’s addition to the Toros on the pitch. If you’ve ever watched the Dynamo, you know how special he can be. If they are sending him down to the Valley to get match time and work his way back to Houston, Gerson just got a legitimate MLS level keeper in goal. While goalkeeper has been well manned by Nico Corti, the Stanford rookie could learn a lot from Deric. We will see how this plays out, but it could be interesting times between the sticks for RGVFC.

The Bad Guys: Las Vegas Lights FC (5-6-5)

As most of you know, I live in Las Vegas and cover Lights FC as well. Having said that, it’s difficult to actually describe the club. Off the pitch, they are trend setters, with some innovative partnerships and player incentives. On the pitch, they have struggled for consistency and an identity this season.

Their offense is primarily for Daigo Kobayashi and the midfielders to knock the ball forward to USL veteran Sammy Ochoa and hope he can control it and start the attack. They have dangerous options going forward in Ochoa, Raul Mendiola, and Carlos Alvarez. Remember Freddy Adu? He’s also a piece of the puzzle for Las Vegas.

Defensively, they are sometimes vulnerable on the counterattack with older players like Joel Huiqui and Miguel Garduno on the backline. Behind them is the most entertaining player on the Lights roster. Ricardo Ferrino plays as a sweeper-keeper and he is not shy on theatrics. You may have seen him start his own counter attack earlier this year, do the Mutumbo finger wave after saves, or just general shenanigans. But, outside of the craziness, he is a great goalkeeper and has kept the Lights in a few matches.

Away from Sin City, the Lights have only won one match, so there is the possibility the Toros could catch three points here. Either way, this fixture should be entertaining.

The Dirty Details

TONIGHT, 8 PM, H-E-B Park

RGVFC vs. Santos Laguna

SATURDAY, 7:30 PM, H-E-B Park

RGVFC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC

Your Weekly Dose of Eloise

Eloise enjoying some Vegas sunshine with the woman I’m lucky enough to marry this Saturday!