After their home return to play was postponed by a couple of days, RGVFC played their first match at H-E-B Park since March. The Toros and San Antonio FC finished level at one with Cristian Parano’s third-minute goal being leveled out by a second-half, stoppage-time equalizer for RGV by Taiberson.
RGVFC Toros (0-2-1)
It was certainly not an ideal South Texas Derby start for Gerson Echeverry’s side as SAFC won a long aerial ball forward and Parano got on the end of the deflection before beat Paul Blanchette.
Also in the first half, Taiberson was able to curl a shot from outside of the box and hit the far post to get San Antonio’s attention. This ended up being a bit of foreshadowing as his match-tying strike (up for Goal of the Week) came from a similar angle and this time tucked right into that far side of the goal. The equalizer arrived after the Toros increased the pressure going forward and registered a series of corner kicks.
It’s nice to come away with one point from this one, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The distribution and playmaking in the attacking half will need to get better as the players gain more chemistry and shake off some of the rust that is clearly still around. While the first match of the season was a disaster vs. Los Dos, there was fluidity in the RGV attack with players like Luka Prpa, Garrett McLaughlin, Kevin Rodriguez, and others all combining in the final third and creating chances for one another. They need to bring that back.
This week will be a test. After playing their rescheduled SAFC match on Sunday, they have a quick turnaround to play again tonight and then to face San Antonio on Saturday, both away from home. Tonight, McLaughlin will be playing his first professional game in his hometown of Oklahoma City and against the club that his dad is a part of the ownership group of. I’d expect the elder McLaughlin is hoping his son scores a hat trick in a Toros’ loss, but in all seriousness, that’s a pretty unique and cool circumstance.
Taiberson: His equalizer was a big-time shot and earned him a Goal of the Week nominee and a spot on the USL Championship’s Team of the Week. He added two chances created and had three shots total, including the one off the post.
Kyle Sanchez Edwards: Making his professional debut, the rookie out of UTRGV was able to register three shots, win 3/4 aerial duels, and create two chances in just 15 minutes of action.
Robert Coronado: The RGVFC left-back created two chances vs. SAFC, won three fouls, and made two interceptions while limiting the opportunities for San Antonio down their attacking right flank.
This Week’s Quote-A-Bulls: RGVFC’s Kyle Sanchez Edwards & Gerson Echeverry
Sanchez Edwards on how the club can create more chances:
“I think we just need to be more patient and composed on the ball in the final third and we would absolutely create more chances.”
Echeverry on what areas the club needs to improve on most for tonight’s match:
“We need to be more patience and have our team possess the ball in their half of the field.”
OKC Energy FC (1-1-1)
Currently tied atop the Group D table with San Antonio, Energy FC enters tonight’s matchup coming off a 3-1 win over Austin Bold FC. Jonathan Brown, Jaime Chavez, and Jose Hernandez scored the goals for John Pascarella’s side. Possession was split 50/50 and the shot totals were almost identical, but Energy FC came away with all three points on the road.
After a big time season with Fresno in 2019, Chavez has two goals already for OKC. The former Los Dos tandem of Frank Lopez and Hernandez can do damage going forward, just like USL veteran speedster Omar Gordon.
There are a pair of holding midfielders that fans of the Toros may recognize tonight in Brad Dunwell and Charlie Ward. While Dunwell’s lone season with RGVFC didn’t make a major impact, Ward was a key component of the 2016 team and played well before signing with the Dynamo and leaving the organization in the same season.
San Antonio FC (1-0-1)
They will be frustrated to have let points slip away at the end of their matchup with the Toros. At home, SAFC will likely play with more aggression in the final third. Alen Marcina’s side has a lot of skill and speed with players like Cristian Parano (who scored the lone goal on Sunday), Jose Gallegos, and the familiar face of Chuy Enriquez. While RGVFC was able to limit them to one goal on Sunday, they will be playing with more tired legs and away from home.
Luis Solignac has assisted on both San Antonio goals this season and the former Chicago Fire striker is tied with PC for most chances created (five).
One position to watch will be who starts between the sticks for SAFC. Veteran Matt Cardone started their first match, a win over Real Monarchs, and was replaced by Minnesota United loanee Dayne St. Clair vs. RGV. Will Marcina turn back to the more experienced Cardone or is St. Clair the first-choice keeper?
Group D Table
Tonight, July 22nd, at 7 PM CT
RGVFC at OKC Energy FC
Saturday, July 25th, at 8 PM CT
RGVFC at San Antonio FC