A Two-Win Week
Without a win since late April, the Toros came away with two victories last week alone. The first win won’t count in the USL standings, but RGVFC defeated Santos Laguna, 3-0 at H-E-B Park in friendly with the Liga MX club. Pablo Aguilar, Monday Etim, and Jordan Jones provided the goals for RGV last Wednesday.
The Toros kept the good times rolling in USL play on Saturday with Las Vegas Lights FC coming to town for the first time. The first half saw more chances in favor of the visitors, but it would be the hosts that got on the scoreboard first. In the 45th minute, after a sequence of chances in front of an empty net for the Toros, the ball bounced out to Conor Donovan. The Houston Dynamo defender took a touch and let go a scorcher from well outside the box that beat Ricardo Ferrino to the top corner.
Neither club could find another goal despite both having quality looks. Michael Nelson, on loan from the first team, made a couple big saves and got lucky that Daigo Kobayashi couldn’t convert from right in front of goal. Then in the final moments of regulation, Aldo Quintanilla made a play. He pressured the Lights into a turnover in their attacking half and began a solo counter attacking run, bowling over a defender. He got the ball a long way before tapping it out to Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez, who knocked the ball past Ferrino. It was the second straight USL match that Enriquez scored quickly after subbing onto the pitch.
RGVFC held the advantage on possession, shots, and shots on target.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Conor Donovan: An honorable mention for USL Team of the Week, the Dynamo man made six clearances and has a Goal of the Week nominee. (Vote HERE)
Michael Nelson: Just like he was in his other Toros’ appearance, the rookie goalkeeper was superb. He made three saves, each of which was of high difficulty.
Chuy Enriquez: Back to back matches with a goal for the explosive winger. While Chuy may not have started either fixture, he made his presence known when the time was right.
Captain Todd Wharton discusses how important last week was for the club:
“It was very important. We finally got rewarded for our hard work in training and good performances we’ve been having. Hopefully, this can set us up for a playoff push in the second half of the season.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC (2-6-10)
It’s great to see the Toros end their lengthy winless streak. They did it with a solid effort against a tough team to play against. While the results haven’t been what the club has wanted, the effort has always been there and that is a testament to Gerson Echeverry as a manager.
Also last week, the club added their first player ever from their academy. Brandon Morales has signed with the Toros, a member of their inaugural academy class. The 18-year-old midfielder featured against Santos Laguna and will be eligible to play this season for the club.
The Bad Guys: Swope Park Rangers (9-6-4)
Coming off back-to-back losses, Swope Park will look to end their losing streak tonight before facing RGVFC this weekend. They welcome former captain Christian Duke and Orange County SC to Kansas City this evening. The club is led in scoring by Kharlton Belmar, who has scored nine goals in ten appearances this season. Hadji Barry has added seven goals and four assists for the Sporting Kansas City affiliate.
The Dirty Details
Sunday, 4 PM Central Time, at Children’s Mercy Park
RGVFC at Swope Park Rangers