Toros draw as playoff hopes officially die
On the same day they were eliminated from playoff contention, RGVFC showed resilience to battle Colorado Switchbacks FC to a 1-1 draw. Playing in the Colorado altitude for the second time this season, the Toros fell behind early. Saeed Robinson blasted a shot from outside the area past a helpless Michael Nelson in the 8th minute. The Houston Dynamo goalkeeper would step up big for his side about 15 minutes later when he got a hand on Mason Toye’s effort from point blank range.
With halftime approaching, Colorado Springs and Toye would find another great chance. A long ball ahead found Toye 1v1 with Kyle Adams. The Switchbacks striker worked his way in front of goal and Nelson came off his line to deny the shot.
The Toros battled to equalize on the road and they finally broke through late in the second frame. Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez nutmegged a defender, weaved his way to the endline, and chipped the ball back towards Nicolas Perea. The midfielder fired a header to the far post beating the Colorado Springs keeper in the 71st minute.
That scoreline would hold and the clubs split points for the first time this season. Both other meetings were won by the hosts. The Toros were slightly out-possessed, out-shot, and out-tackled.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Nicolas Perea: A great season by the midfielder finally features a goal. His header was the equalizer and lone goal for RGVFC and he coupled that with another amazing day passing the ball. He connected on 88% of his 58 passes and added three key passes.
Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez: His assist showcased what he brings to a team. He was able to dribble around defenders into a dangerous area and played a perfect ball to Perea. Chuy completed 80% of his 46 passes and won four fouls.
Michael Nelson: Another great performance coming down from the first team. You can’t blame him for not stopping that amazing strike from Saeed Robinson, but he did make two massive saves on chances that should have been easy goals for Switchbacks FC.
Nicolas Perea on scoring the lone goal on Saturday:
“It’s always great to score. Being down 1-0, the team was pushing a lot of numbers up and trying to find the equalizer. There was some great team build up and brilliant individual play by Chuy. I was able to find a small pocket where I was unmarked and then guided the ball to the back of the net. I’m just happy I was able to help the team secure a point on the road against a tough opponent. Hopefully, I can keep doing that.”
Chuy Enriquez on the feeling he gets when dribbling the ball past defenders:
“It’s really fun. I love doing it!”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (5-11-13)
Well, the slimmest of playoffs hope finally disappeared over the weekend for RGVFC. For the second year in their three year existence, the club will miss the USL Playoffs. But, this year’s struggles are very different than last year’s. Let me tell you why...
In 2017, RGVFC had a roster predominantly of players from the successful 2016 team. They were led by a coach in Junior Gonzalez that never really seemed to connect with the guys. There was never a system established and the club, to put it bluntly, lacked heart at times in massive blowout losses.
This year, it is a young group full of fresh faces. With quality depth at every position, Gerson Echeverry has done a great job of making each and every player earn their spot in training and in matches. The oldest player on the pitch Saturday, outside of loanee AJ DeLaGarza, is 26-year-old Nicolas Perea. The squad is young and improving. Also, unlike last year’s side, you can’t show me a match that they didn’t battle in. This team works hard and can make MASSIVE strides next season if the majority of the roster returns.
The Bad Guys: Seattle Sounders FC 2 (5-18-5)
Neither team will have any postseason positioning to play for with RGVFC facing off against 16th place Sounders 2. They are winless in their last seven matches and have not won away from home yet in 2018. 30-year-old David Estrada leads the club with ten goals.
When the clubs met in April, S2 defended their home turf with a 3-2 victory. The teams alternated goals the entire match with the winner coming in the 82nd minute. Matias Zaldivar and Guillermo Delgado scored for the Toros.
The Dirty Details
Saturday, 7:30 CDT, at H-E-B Park
RGVFC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2