All Toros, No Bull: A frustrating, one-point road trip for RGVFC

After their late equalizer to steal a point at home vs. San Antonio FC, RGVFC hit the road for a mid-week match vs. OKC Energy FC and a Saturday rematch vs. SAFC. Unfortunately, those two away matches ended with just one point for the Toros.

RGVFC Toros (0-3-2)

Since their return to action, the Toros have not conceded more than one goal in a match. Unfortunately, those four matches have ended in two 1-0 losses and two 1-1 draws. Gerson Echeverry’s side had their first lead of the season last Wednesday before things went bad late.

Midweek in Oklahoma City, Deshane Beckford had a highlight-reel goal that put RGVFC up early at OKC Energy FC. But, a late throw-in by Energy would doom the Toros, just like in their 2016 playoff match. In the 88th minute, a long throw into the box found MLS veteran Atiba Harris and he was able to head the ball to substitute Frank Lopez. The former Los Dos star smashed the equalizer past Paul Blanchette.

Saturday night was another closely-contested South Texas Derby. The Toros did a lot of defending early and their ability on the counter-attack was hindered by a first-half injury and subbing off for Taiberson. His replacement, Christian Lucatero, may have been the best player on the day for RGVFC. The lone goal of the night was an ordinary shot by Gonzalo Di Renzo, who got too much space from debutant Diego Rocha, that Blanchette somehow couldn’t keep out of the back of the net.

A new arrival was announced on Monday as Ian Hoffmann was signed by the Houston Dynamo and will join the Toros on loan. The 18-year-old is a USMNT U-20 player that has featured as a defender and midfielder.

While he can help on the backline or in the midfield, the main area of concern for RGV is up top. On the season, three goals have been scored and none by a striker. Garrett McLaughlin, JC Obregon Jr., and Kyle Edwards Sanchez have 14 shots combined in 550 minutes on the pitch and none of their six shots on target have found the net. With the club struggling to score goals, the strikers need to step up and carry the scoring load.

Top Toros

Robert Castellanos: The RGVFC captain made 22 clearances and three interceptions last week. Since the restart, the backline has been staunch and Caste is the one leading the group there.

Deshane Beckford: He scored the lone goal of the week for RGVFC and it was a beauty. The Jamaican international had a slick nutmeg of a defender as he made his move down the left wing and after a feint in front of goal, he converted from close range. Beckford also created two chances vs. OKC.

Christian Lucatero: Subbing on for Taiberson in the first half vs. SAFC, he pushed the action very well and brought great energy to the Toros. In the two matches last week, he crossed the ball eight times, had three shots, and made five tackles (defensive work was a focus in his return to RGVFC).

This Week’s Quote-A-Bull: Robert Castellanos

On getting wins in close matches rather than draws or losses:

“Just working on putting the game away. We create a lot of opportunities for ourselves and do well to minimize the chances for our opponent. But, lacking on capitalizing on our chances and other teams don’t.”

FC Tulsa (0-0-2)

The club formerly known as the Tulsa Roughnecks has played to two 1-1 draws, one before the hiatus and one after. Rodrigo da Costa has scored both of FC Tulsa’s goals this season.

Tulsa’s two Cuban players, Ariel Martinez and Dario Suarez, are creative on the ball going forward and will definitely test the Toros’ backline.

For the day one Toros fans, there are three players from the 2016 RGV side with Tulsa this season. Eric Bird and Kevin Garcia joined the club after their time with the Dynamo ended after last season. Bradley Bourgeois, who played for the club in 2017, signed a multi-year deal this offseason. All three players are key components of Tulsa’s squad so far this year.

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.