Toros top Energy FC in South Texas
RGVFC finally secured their first win of 2019. Michael Salazar and Chuy Enriquez provided the goals in the 2-1 win.
In the early stages, the Toros were doing well to get forward and into dangerous areas, but it was consistently a matter of too much passing and not enough assertiveness in the final third. With the club struggling to score, it seemed like there was a lack of confidence to fire a shot first time but instead, make another unnecessary pass that was either intercepted or passed again.
Finally, towards the half-hour mark, the club started to fire some shots with confidence, whether they went on frame or not. That would lead to some momentum going into halftime.
After the break, the Toros finally broke through. A poor back pass from an OKC defender turned into a through ball to Michael Salazar Jr. The Belizean striker curled the shot past Cody Laurendi for his first goal since returning from a serious knee injury.
OKC had a chance to equalize on a penalty kick after Nico Corti brought down an Energy player in the area. But, the shot from the spot hit off the post and the Toros kept their lead.
With the action still close, RGVFC got an insurance goal from their brightest star so far this season. Jesus “Chuy” Enriquez received a pass in the area from Andrew Samuels and used some quick skills in close range to elude defenders before chipping the ball over Laurendi for the second goal of the match. The midfielder took over his jersey and had a Te Amo Ma message on his undershirt in honor of his mother’s birthday (more on that below).
Unfortunately, the clean sheet went away in stoppage time as poor marking allowed Atiba Harris to head home a goal for Energy FC.
The Toros hung on and took their first victory of the 2019 season. Now, they’ve taken four points from their last two matches, both at H-E-B Park.
Chuy Enriquez: When I talked to him last week, he said they were close and thought this match might be the first one. His second-half goal and two chances created helped turn that into reality.
Michael Salazar: After working his way back from a serious knee injury, Salazar finally broke through and opened the scoring on Saturday.
Andrew Samuels: The rookie right-back assisted on Chuy’s goal and had two chances created on the day, completing 86% of his passes in the attacking half. He added two interceptions and a clearance on the night.
Wilmer Cabrera Jr. on getting the first win of the season at home:
Getting the first win at home was an amazing feeling. We couldn’t have done it without the fans. Hopefully, this will be the first of many.
Chuy Enriquez on dedicating his goal to his mom on her birthday:
“There are no words to describe how important my mom is to me and my family. She has done everything for us and has went through a lot. I’ve never seen her give herself a day off. She’s always working, through sickness, surgeries, and anything that gets in her way. She’s the strongest woman I know. There is no way to re-pay her for everything that she has done for me, that’s why that goal was so important to me because she deserves that and more. She’s my biggest motivation, I do this for her. Every time I step on the pitch I think about her. I have an amazing chance and opportunity to give her whatever she wants one day. And I know I will accomplish that goal with God’s blessing.
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (1-3-2)
What a relief! Finally, the Toros are out of the winless club and can look to build on the result.
One of the main things holding RGVFC back in earlier matches was a lack of production from the striker position. In the win, the club’s #9, Michael Salazar, scored the opening goal. Another road block was a lack of shots on target. While their percentage was still bad, they put nine shots on target vs. OKC. Hopefully, both of these trends continue.
Moving forward, they are going to need to eliminate the mental errors, like leaving players poorly marked on a late set piece. The club needs to play 90 minutes of quality soccer and continue to keep their foot on the gas, but also play under control.
The Bad Guys: Las Vegas Lights FC (2-3-1)
After only scoring three goals (none from the run of play) in five matches, Lights FC scored five times in their sixth match, a 5-0 destruction of Tacoma Defiance in Sin City.
Irvin Parra scored a hat trick and Tabort Etaka Preston added a brace. Parra leads the club with four goals on the season. Goalkeeper Thomas Olsen has three clean sheets on the season, all coming at home. He’s conceded multiple goals in all three away matches.
Former USMNT star Eric Wynalda has the club playing aggressive, high-pressing soccer in his first season as manager and technical director.
The Dirty Details
7:30 PM on Saturday, 4/20, at H-E-B Park
RGVFC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC