Aguilar lifts Toros late at home
The match last Saturday night seemed to be headed to a similar end for RGVFC. They were level with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, despite both sides having solid chances. The Toros lead the USL in draws and it appeared they were destined to add another one. Then, Pablo Aguilar saved the day.
Desperate for points as they look to make a push in the second half of the season, the Toros took all three from Switchbacks FC, thanks to Aguilar’s goal in the 83rd minute. Both sides had quality looks scattered throughout the match, but the chances got more dangerous in the middle of the second half. Carlos Small, making his RGVFC debut, had an open look in front of goal, but his volley was mishit and easily saved at close blank range. Minutes later, Josh Suggs rang the crossbar on a free kick. The defender scored on a set piece in the club’s first meeting this season.
Then, Small controlled the ball in the penalty area and while trying to make a move, he lost possession right to Aguilar. The former Virginia midfielder took a touch and buried his left footed attempt. Small nearly doubled the margin before the final whistle, but his shot was cleared off the line by Taylor Hunter, current Switchbacks FC defender and former Toro.
RGVFC had a comfortable lead in possession and the clubs finished even at 15 shots apiece.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Pablo Aguilar: When it seemed RGVFC was destined for another draw, the rookie midfielder buried his second goal of the season.
Nicolas Perea: He was surgical in his distribution on Saturday. He completed 94% of his 62 passes and moved the attack forward with crisp balls ahead of attacking players.
Michael Nelson: The Dynamo draft pick hasn’t played much with the Toros, but every time he has, it’s been impressive. He came up with three big saves and a clean sheet.
Kai Greene on the importance of getting a win before hitting the road for two matches:
“It was important we won and kept a clean sheet because we need the momentum to carry us through the next couple games.
Nicolas Perea on which player influenced his game the most:
I can’t say any particular player. It’s a tough question when you grow up watching so many legends on TV. Henry, Kaka, Xavi Alonso, Ronaldo (Brazil), Lampard, Lucio, Riquelme, etc. I can go on and on. I was always, and still am, the type to take something from numerous players. Everyone loves the 2 or 3 guys at the top, but for me, it has always been important to know that you can learn something new, that will improve your style, from any position, even goalkeeper. Taking bits and pieces from different players has helped me and continues to shape my game.
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (3-6-11)
Another win! For only the third time this season, the Toros got the job done. The midfield duo of Todd Wharton and Nico Perea was excellent, per usual. I think Perea could be one of the most valuable players for this club. Michael Nelson is a star every time he plays with the Toros. Going forward, they can play Nelson, Nico Corti, or the on loan Tyler Deric and they are in contention for a clean sheet every time.
While he didn’t find the net, I was a huge fan of Carlos Small in his limited action. He is a big, strong player with a nose for the ball. As he continues to get comfortable with his teammates, I think he can be an exceptional USL striker.
It shows a lot about Gerson Echeverry that the club keeps working as hard as they do. With wins difficult to come by, they’ve kept plugging away and could make some noise or play spoiler down the stretch this season.
The Bad Guys: Las Vegas Lights FC (6-9-5)
RGVFC will be traveling to a one-of-a-kind city and atmosphere on Saturday. The Lights fans pack Cashman Field and are boisterous throughout. Opposing players mention the volume and the size of the pitch when discussing the difficulties of winning in Las Vegas.
As far as the team, it’s hard to guess what you will see. There are matches they look solid, especially at home where they’ve won three straight outings. But, they can also implode in others, like they did against last week when they lost 3-0 to a struggling Sounders FC 2.
Ricardo Ferrino is must-see TV in goal and they have potent strikers in Omar Salgado, Sammy Ochoa, and Daniel Guzman Jr. They will be without their star and captain Carlos Alvarez, who was sent off for an elbow vs. S2.