Chuy Converts In Crunch Time
With a third straight loss to open the season looking RGVFC in the eyes, Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez had a heroic moment vs. El Paso Locomotive FC.
First, let’s look at how we got to that point. In first-half stoppage time, Nick Ross opened the scoring for El Paso, beating a heavily screened Tyler Deric. RGVFC’s defense featured three Houston Dynamo loanees: Chris Duvall, Alejandro Fuenmayor, and Samuel Junqua.
Playing at home, El Paso doubled their lead in the 78th minute. Nick Ross received a through ball in the box and Deric came far off of his line. Ross touched the ball through traffic to an onrushing Derek Gebhard, who tapped it into the open goal.
The Toros would battle back almost immediately after. From well outside the box, Romilio Hernandez blasted a shot off the crossbar and in for the first goal of RGVFC’s 2019 campaign.
El Paso tried to extend their lead back to two goals but could not convert some quality chances. Then, in the final minute of regulation, Chuy Enriquez headed home an Isidro Martinez free kick. Despite a few chances to secure a winner, El Paso had to settle for a home draw vs. their in-state rival.
Chuy Enriquez: The electric midfielder scored the crucial goal to earn RGV a draw in the 90th minute. He completed 96% of his 28 passes and won four fouls. Chuy did well to drop deeper than normal to pick up the ball and bring it into the attack.
Romilio Hernandez: That’s how you score the first goal of your club’s season. Romilio boomed one in from distance that is a candidate for USL Championship Goal of the Week and he made the bench on the Team of the Week. He also tallied seven tackles in the midfield.
Camilo Monroy: A second half substitute, Monroy assisted on Romilio’s goal, completing all six of his passes. His pace brought an added element to the Toros’ attack. His free kick in the 82nd minute forced a save.
Wilmer Cabrera Jr. on the late draw vs. El Paso:
“Coming back and getting a draw vs. El Paso was very important to ensure that we didn’t start the season with three straight losses. Luckily, no one started with three straight wins so everyone in the league is very close and every little point counts. Hopefully now, we can use this momentum to start winning games and climbing the table.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (0-2-1)
It wasn’t a win, but it was a crucial result on the road. In the first match of Copa Tejas, RGVFC battled and came away with a point, despite holding less possession and having less shots. The draw also came without three of their most potent attacking players, Michael Salazar, Maalique Foster, and Carlos Small.
As I mentioned in last week’s article, loanees from the Houston Dynamo on the back line make things interesting for the Toros. On Saturday, the four man defense featured three players from the first team and a lack of spacing definitely contributed to El Paso’s opening goal.
You can see how Fuenmayor could have possibly blocked Deric's view of the shot by Nick Ross. pic.twitter.com/HEghsknpUW— Down in the Valley Podcast (@DownInTheRGV) March 24, 2019
Brad Dunwell did well in distribution but made zero tackles or interceptions. Playing in the central midfield, he will need to excel in his defensive duties. Of the other first year Toros, Isidro Martinez was impressive vs. El Paso. He assisted on Chuy’s equalizer and delivered some quality service from set pieces.
The Bad Guys: Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2-1-1)
A Western Conference doormat in two of the last three seasons, this is a completely different Roughnecks side. They’ve scored four or more goals twice already this season in four matches after only doing so once last year.
Luca Lobo has scored five goals and Cristhian Altamirano has added three of his own. In Tulsa’s last match, they were dominated in possession (62%-38%) but won 4-0 and had 17 shots. Mallan Roberts has been a key addition, with the central defender leading Tulsa in passes so far. Lobo and Rodrigo da Costa made appearances on this week’s USL Team of the Week, the latter on the bench.
The Dirty Details
Friday, 3/29, at 7 PM Central Time
RGVFC at Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Watch live on ESPN +