RGVFC traveled to Kansas City to face Swope Park this past Sunday. While it was a very competitive match, the Toros were the better team in most regards. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to a victory. For a league-leading 11th time, RGVFC finished a match level this season.
This match was defined by a lot of back and forth play in the midfield and a few massive chances for the Toros. In the 8th minute, Todd Wharton sent in a lovely ball from a free kick. Jordan Jones tapped it on frame, but it was saved by Christian Herrera. Conor Donovan got a chance off the rebound, but his shot was too close to the fallen Herrera and he blocked the follow-up and tipped the ball away from danger. The sequence was nominated for USL Save of the Week and helped Herrera receive Team of the Week acknowledgment.
Pablo Aguilar would get a chance for the Toros on another first half free kick. From a similar spot that he scored against Santos Laguna, Aguilar’s effort hit the near post. He would hit the same post in more dramatic fashion minutes later. Following another save by Herrera, Aguilar fired an ambitious scissor kick towards the empty net, but it rang off the same post that bedeviled him earlier.
The second half saw both clubs casually trying to score a winner without sending too many numbers forward. The match finished scoreless with the Toros holding a slight edge on possession. They carried a big advantage on shots, finishing with 18 total and seven on goal, compared to seven total and one on frame for Swope Park. Houston Dynamo players Andrew Wenger and Eric Bird played in the match, with Wenger playing only the first half in a rehab effort.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Todd Wharton: The captain was a controlling presence on the road for RGV. He finished with a club-high 83 touches and completed 90% of his passes.
Pablo Aguilar: If only he could’ve converted the scissor kick...but, despite that shot hitting the post, the attacking midfielder was quality against Swope Park, hitting the post twice on the day. He was also the main player linking the defensive midfield and the attack.
Nico Corti discusses the importance of the shutout vs. Swope Park:
“It’s always key for us to get shutouts since it puts us in a great position to get points on the road.”
Kyle Adams explains how the Toros have tallied back-to-back clean sheets:
“The collective team buying into defending. Then, the players at the back making plays when they are needed.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (2-6-11)
In typical Toros’ fashion this season, the midfield and defense were great but were let down by the attack’s finishing. This time around, it was not a lack of desire up top for Gerson Echeverry’s squad. They simply ran into a goalkeeper in great form and couldn’t find their moment.
The midfield duo of Wharton and Perea is top class. Both players are willing defenders and elite passers. When they are both on the pitch, they can control a match. Wilmer Cabrera Jr. got the start against Swope Park and I feel confident in saying I prefer him coming off the bench. This is not an indication that he isn’t talented. His lack of top end pace hampered a couple of counterattacking chances for the Toros and I think his high motor is perfect in the second half against tired opponents.
Sheldon Sullivan is a very steady defender, but he does not provide much going forward from his left back slot. Whether it’s a directive from the manager or his own personal choice, the opposing club’s right back can completely lock in on the Toros’ left winger rather than having to worry about Sullivan overlapping.
RGV is a solid team and they are proving every week that they are a tough side to defeat. With the summer heat scorching down, a staunch defense, and a hardworking midfield, there is no team in the USL that wants to play the Toros at H-E-B Park.
The Bad Guys: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (8-10-4)
Sitting on the good side of the playoff red line, Switchbacks FC will try to do what only one other team has done this season: defeat RGVFC at home. Colorado Springs is coming off a 4-2 win over Tulsa this past weekend. Marty Maybin received USL Team of the Week honors for his brace.
The Switchbacks play the first half of their Texas swing tonight at San Antonio. Jordan Burt leads the club with six goals. When the Toros traveled to C. Springs earlier this year, the hosts secured a 2-1 victory.
The Dirty Details
When: Saturday, 7/28, at 7:30 PM Central Time
Where: H-E-B Park
Who: RGVFC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC