Last weekend, RGVFC couldn’t hold onto their lead against a 10-man Austin Bold FC side, finishing level 1-1 at H-E-B Park. Juan David Cabezas scored for the Toros and Xavier Baez equalized for Austin. Next up for Wilmer Cabrera’s club is a trip to Arizona to face the powerhouse Phoenix Rising FC.
RGVFC Toros (7-3-4)
The Toros and Bold FC have played three matches this season (with one more scheduled next month) and all of the fixtures have been extremely close. The first matchup included the stoppage-time winner for Austin and the second was a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the second half. Over the weekend, the clubs played to another draw that was not short on intrigue.
Cabezas was able to give RGVFC a lead within the first ten minutes as he headed home a corner kick. Austin’s Juan Torres picking up a yellow card in the 35th minute didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but it would become a major storyline in the second half. After a foul was whistled on Fabien Garcia, Torres was frustrated and kicked the ball out of play and was shown his second yellow and a red card in the 50th minute.
But, the Toros couldn’t add an insurance goal, despite playing up a man at their home stadium. That would prove to be costly as Baez buried an equalizer late in the second half. Tyler Deric was may have been distracted by a potential foul committed against Adrian Vera seconds before the cross came in and he stormed out of goal to give the referee a piece of his mind, earning a yellow card for dissent.
All things considered, it’s not the result Wilmer & Co. would be looking for after scoring first, playing most of the second half with a man advantage, and all taking place at home. In his post-game remarks provided by RGVFC communications, he mentioned that “we lost control of the game”, which is never something that you want to experience, especially given the favorable circumstances.
This week, they are walking into a buzz saw in Phoenix Rising FC, who are statistically the best club in the USL Championship and are unbeaten at home.
Juan David Cabezas: The captain scored the lone goal for RGVFC and also completed 86% of his passes. He added two tackles and two interceptions.
Erik Pimentel: He played a solid game in central defense, finishing with three interceptions, two tackles, two clearances, and connected on 49 passes.
Rodrigo Lopez: Named to the USL Championship Team of the Week bench, his corner kick delivery assisted on Cabezas’ goal and he finished with four chances created. In total, Lopez completed 68/77 passes and also registered three interceptions.
Phoenix Rising FC (9-2-2)
Consistently one of the best clubs in the USL Championship, 2021 has been just another year of dominant soccer for Phoenix Rising FC. Rick Schantz’s squad currently leads the league in points with 29. They have scored the most goals (with the most shots) and are tied for the second-fewest conceded and most clean sheets. They are 6-0-1 at home with the lone draw coming back in early June.
Last time out, they went on the road and picked up all three points against San Diego Loyal SC. James Musa’s goal from a scramble off of a corner kick was all Rising FC needed. Despite only holding 30% possession, Phoenix more than tripled San Diego’s shot total and prevented Landon Donovan’s side from registering even one shot on target.
The Toros have never defeated Rising FC, but they have held their own better than most clubs. They have lost three times and drawn three times with a respectable -6 goal differential. Their last meeting came in 2019 when Phoenix picked up a win at H-E-B Park, 1-0.
Players to Watch
Solomon Asante: The two-time reigning league MVP, Asante currently leads Phoenix in goals (eight) and assists (six). He’s tied for the league-lead with 35 chances created.
Kevon Lambert: A skilled midfielder, the 24-year-old helps dictate the pace and turn defense into quick offense for Phoenix. He leads the club with 28 interceptions, 80 duels won, and 20 tackles won.
Santi Moar: He finds himself right behind Asante in most statistical categories for Rising FC. The Spanish star has seven goals, 26 chances created, and three assists, all second best on the club, and he’s won the most fouls for Phoenix (20).
Saturday, 9:30 PM Central, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
RGVFC at Phoenix Rising FC