A frustrating home opener vs. Fresno
After an opening week loss to Tacoma Defiance, RGVFC returned to South Texas to host Fresno FC in the club’s 2019 home opener. Unfortunately, the Toros dropped the match 2-0.
Just like the 2019 season, a rough start put RGVFC in the hole early. In the second minute, Arun Basuljevic and Jackson worked a nice one-two and the former scored for Fresno FC.
Despite trailing early, the Toros controlled possession and tried to find an equalizer. But, just as it was vs. Tacoma, finishing betrayed RGV in the final third. Maalique Foster and Carlos Small both had opportunities but could not take advantage.
Around the hour mark, Basuljevic secured a brace as he beat Nico Corti from a tight angle. Less than ten minutes later, another crucial moment went against the Toros. After Michael Salazar was taken down in the area, a penalty was awarded in the 66th minute. Stepping up to take the shot, Foster sent the Fresno keeper the wrong way but knocked his shot off the right post. That was certainly representative of the kind of night it was at H-E-B Park for the hosts.
In the end, RGVFC finished with more of possession and shots in front of a reported crowd of over 4,400. But, they only put one of their 15 shots on target.
Brad Dunwell: The holding midfielder completed 92.5% of his 80 passes, including 88% in the opponents’ half.
Maalique Foster: He makes it on the list, despite his poor finishing. The Jamaican created three chances, had four shots, and won two fouls.
Isidro Martinez: One chance created, seven long passes, and two blocked shots for the young RGV midfielder.
Chuy Enriquez on how motivated the club is to get things turned around this weekend:
“We’re really motivated. We can’t wait to be back on the field and get our first win. We’re ready to flip the page.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (0-2-0)
With 24 shots in two matches, the Toros have zero goals to show for it. A big reason for that is only three of those shots have gone on target. Especially early in the season, it’s important to test the keeper and force him to make saves.
The club has completed over 80% of their passes and they’ve been solid in possession. But, if you don’t score, you can’t win. In defense, the club started the same central defenders in both matches, but two different pairs of full backs, including Houston Dynamo loanees Samuel Junqua and Chris Duvall. While this is common as an affiliate side, it’s not uncommon for there to be small miscommunications that lead to goals when the backline isn’t used to playing with another.
This weekend, RGV will be without attacking players Michael Salazar and Maalique Foster, both called up for international friendlies. Desperate for a goal, losing two of your most promising offensive weapons is not ideal. But, Chuy Enriquez, Carlos Small, and Camilo Monroy will be ready to step up.
After going five matches winless to start off last season, let’s hope the Toros can turn things around this weekend.
The Bad Guys: El Paso Locomotive FC (0-1-1)
After a 3-1 loss to open the season, Locomotive FC got a positive result on the road, drawing with a talented Real Monarchs SLC side. Against the Real Salt Lake affiliate, El Paso held 64% possession and put nine of their 17 shots on target. Unfortunately, the match ended scoreless.
Omar Salgado and Sebastian Contreras are the top danger men for El Paso and Derek Gebhard has the only goal so far this season.
When the clubs face off, Locomotive FC will be without a key piece to their side, defender Mechack Jerome. The defender has the most passes this season for the club and will be gone on international duty with Haiti.
The Dirty Details
RGVFC at El Paso Locomotive FC
Southwest University Park
Saturday, 3/23, 8:30 PM Central Time