All Toros, No Bull: RGVFC enter their Sunday match vs. OKC on a four-match winless run

After scoring the opening goal on the road vs. El Paso Locomotive FC, RGVFC conceded three times in the second half to lose 3-1 and extend their winless streak to four matches.

RGVFC Toros (8-7-5)

While they handed El Paso their only loss earlier this season, the Toros weren’t able to repeat that success over the weekend. But, they did get off to a good start at Elvis Amoh was able to put the visitors ahead at Southwest University Park. James Murphy fired a perfectly-placed missile of a pass to the RGVFC striker getting in behind the defense, and he was able to convert. The lead held through the break and the Toros nearly doubled their lead, but Christian Sorto’s effort was saved off the line by defender Mechack Jerome.

Luis Solignac’s crafty finished equalized things before Sebastian Velazquez scored the match-winner towards the end of regulation. Dylan Mares added an insurance goal in stoppage time.

In the match, RGVFC only held 34.9% possession, considerably below their average of 50%, and were nearly doubled in shots. Despite those lopsided stats, the club played this one close and certainly could have come away with at least a point.

A big issue for the Toros is that while they’ve gone four matches without a win, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC have not lost in four matches and now sit in second place. The two clubs are level on points with the goal differential favoring Colorado Springs, but it’s the opposite trajectories that should be concerning for RGVFC supporters.

Obviously, injuries play a part in the recent struggles for the club. However, there isn’t a single club in the USL Championship that won’t have to overcome injuries at some point in the season. Wilmer Cabrera is a veteran manager and he needs to make the adjustments that he deems necessary to start turning losses into draws and draws into wins.

Top Toros

James Murphy: I dare you to find a better assist this week in the USL Championship than Murphy’s long-distance dime. In addition to his assist, he had two tackles, two interceptions, and another chance created.

Adrian Diz Pe: The Cuban defender was busy on the backline for RGVFC, tallying a ridiculous stat line of six tackles, six clearances, and four interceptions. He also completed 80% of his passes.

Elvis Amoh: He scored to put the Toros ahead in the first half, his second goal of the week after providing the lone tally vs. Austin Bold FC.

OKC Energy FC (5-7-8)

Typically a member of the Western Conference, Energy FC find themselves in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division for 2021. The club struggled out of the gate, winless in their first eight matches this season and costing John Pascarella his job back in June. But, they got things turned around and find themselves only two points behind the playoff pace. While they are 24th in the league in goals scored, they are tied for sixth in clean sheets.

Over the weekend, they played to a scoreless draw with division-leading Louisville City FC. While they only carried 36.7% possession and were outshot, Energy FC had overwhelming advantages in tackles and clearances and came away with a well-earned point.

There are four former RGVFC players on the roster in Charlie Ward, Conor Donovan, Kyle Ihn, and the injured Robert Coronado. The all-time series between the clubs favors RGVFC with the South Texas side winning six matches, losing three, and coming away with four draws. But, one of those losses for the Toros came in their only playoff match in club history. Energy FC scored twice in stoppage time back in 2016 to hand Wilmer Cabrera and Co. a devastating, 3-2 defeat.

Players to Watch

Villyan Bijev: A veteran presence in the USL Championship, he is the go-to player offensively for OKC, leading the club in goals (9), assists (3), shots (36), and chances created (21).

Mitchell Osmond: While Bijev leads the way in the attack, the 27-year-old Australian is the top player on the backline. He has the club-high in passes (1,008), clearances (80), and interceptions (46). He also scored one goal this season. He was on the bench of the USL-C’s latest Team of the Week.

C. J. Cochran: He’s proving to be one of the best goalkeepers in the league this season with the 8th-most saves and 3rd-most clean sheets.

The Deets

Sunday, 5 PM CT, Taft Stadium

RGVFC at OKC Energy FC

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.