Back-to-back at H-E-B Park
Well, after starting the season with a five-match winless run, RGVFC decided they would it two wins in two weeks, defeating Las Vegas Lights FC after topping OKC Energy FC the week prior.
It was a goal-scoring extravaganza for the Toros on Bark at the Park Night, with three players tallying their first goals for the club. Wilmer Cabrera Jr. stepped up to the penalty spot after a Las Vegas handball in the area and the 18-year-old knocked it past Thomas Olsen. Less than five minutes later, Maalique Foster centered a ball to Isidro Martinez, and the rookie midfielder put RGVFC up 2-0 within the first 20 minutes of the match.
In the second half, the Toros received a gift from Lights FC. A shot from Michael Salazar deflected off of a defender into defender Gabe Robinson, who accidentally ricocheted the ball into his own net. The Lights would get one back as Robinson’s long throw found Christian Torres inside the area for the visitors’ first goal.
The Toros went back up by three around the 80th minute when Foster got around LV’s goalkeeper Olsen and buried the chance. Carlos Small added a fifth goal for RGVFC before Sammy Ochoa made the final scoreline 5-2.
Despite the lopsided win, Gerson Echeverry’s side had much less possession and less than half the shots and shots on target of Las Vegas. But, that’s the way it goes in sports sometimes, especially soccer.
Dynamo Theory’s Man of the Match Maalique Foster: It was a breakout match for Foster after some positive performances recently, making his way to the USL Championship Team of the Week. He scored his first goal, had a lovely assist to Isidro, and won four fouls on the night. If only someone who also covers Las Vegas thought Maalique might be ready to open his account...
Michael Nelson: The Houston Dynamo loanee came up with six saves on the night, some of them from point blank range. It seems almost every time Nelson plays in with the Toros, he has a big match.
Isidro Martinez: Like Foster, Isidro scored his first goal for the Toros in the win. The midfielder also created a chance, tallied three clearances, and had two interceptions.
Kyle Adams on the key to the club keeping momentum going as they hit the road:
“Staying compact defensively and minimizing the chances we give up. Then continuing the good build up play and finishing we have been producing in the last few games.”
The Good Guys: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (2-3-2)
Okay, we know the Toros can play well at home. But, they’ve lost two of their three away matches to start the season and now they play two matches on the road in less than a week.
Time will tell, but it could be a big boost for the trio of players to notch their first goal of the year (Isidro, Andy, and Maalique). Confidence is a big part of the equation in front of the net and seeing the ball go in, no matter how it does, makes a player feel more dangerous.
It will be interesting to see if Houston Dynamo reinforcements arrive in SoCal tonight. With the match being midweek, it could allow for some players to get minutes. I tweeted last week about the opposite of reinforcements as RGVFC will lose two players to NCAA soccer mid-season. Wilmer Jr. is off to Butler University and Brandon Morales is committed to Cornell. That’s great for both young men, but Gerson will have to find more depth rotational players as that time gets nearer.
The Bad Guys: LA Galaxy II (3-3-0)
It’s been feast or famine so far for Los Dos, who have zero draws on the year. In every match, except for their loss vs. San Antonio, one team scored at least three goals. They’ve been blown out 4-1 and 5-0, but also have solid wins like 3-0 and 4-2.
The LA Galaxy affiliate has five players with multiple goals and three players with multiple assists, but none with more than two in either category. Ethan Zubak leads the club in shots with 12 and Emil Cuello has a team-high nine chances created.
Former Toros defender Omar Ontiveros has played in two matches for Los Dos, getting one start.
Portland Timbers FC 2 (4-1-2)
As everyone expected, T2 sits atop the Western Conference table. Narrator voice nobody expected this. After a surprise playoff appearance last season, Timbers 2 are riding the wave of momentum to the tune of 4-1-2, with two wins in their last three times out.
Foster Langsdorf has a club-high three goals, but he recently made his MLS debut with the first team, so who knows if he will be available for next week’s match. Eryk Williamson is tied for 1st in the USL Championship with five assists and is tied for 6th with 17 chances created.
Former RGVFC captain Todd Wharton is one of five T2 players to play in all seven matches so far. The midfielder has scored once this season and has connected on 86% of his passes.
The Dirty Details
TONIGHT at LA Galaxy II. 9:30 PM Central Time
Tuesday, 4/30, at Portland Timbers FC 2. 9 PM Central Time