After playing two matches over the last week, RGVFC look ahead to some Friday Night Futbol as they host FC Tulsa at H-E-B Park in two days.
RGVFC Toros (5-2-2)
For the first time in 2021, the Toros came up empty in a home match when they faced Austin last Wednesday. Alexis Cerritos was able to provide the opening goal, taking advantage of a loose ball in the area after the ball struck the post. That 1-0 lead held into halftime at H-E-B Park. But, the second half would belong to Bold FC.
Former USL Championship MVP Sean Okoli, who came off the bench entering the second half, equalized for Austin. In the final minute of stoppage time, Juan David Cabezas committed a foul just outside the area and it proved to be a costly one. Fabien Garcia stepped up and buried a free kick over the wall and past Tyler Deric to win the match for Bold FC in the final moments.
The second match of the week was another South Texas Derby matchup. Unlike the match vs. Austin, RGVFC actually fell behind first. Justin Dhillon beat Deric from a tight angle to give the hosts a lead in the 13th minute.
Before the match reached the half-hour mark, Elvis Amoh played Christian Sorto in on goal and he was able to put the ball past Matt Cardone. Despite holding an advantage in shots, shots on target, and possession, RGVFC couldn’t find a winner, and this one would end 1-1.
Neither match was a shining performance from Wilmer Cabrera’s side, so coming away with a point is not the worst-case scenario. The lineup was heavily rotated on Wednesday and defender Robert Albuquerque got the start on Saturday days after he was announced as a new signing. Juan David Cabezas was named to the bench for the USL Championship Team of the Week.
Christian Sorto: He scored the equalizer vs. San Antonio FC and finished with three chances created across the two matches. The 21-year-old continues to establish himself as an exciting option in the attack with his quickness and skill on the ball.
Adrian Diz Pe: Per usual, he put up some ridiculous numbers as he tried to stabilize the Toros’ defense. He finished with seven tackles, ten interceptions, and nine clearances (eight vs. SAFC).
Alexis Cerritos: The lone RGVFC goal vs. Austin was the 20-year-old’s first goal of the season. He tallied six shots between the two matches and completed 49/53 passes (92% accuracy).
FC Tulsa (4-4-0)
With the USL Championship adjusting to a four-division setup in 2021, FC Tulsa actually slid over to the Eastern Conference this season. They currently reside in fourth in the Central Division, holding the final playoff position. Michael Nsien’s club started the season with three consecutive wins, but that has been followed by a five-match stretch that includes four losses and only one victory. Their last match was a 3-2 loss vs. Louisville City FC where they were down 3-0 by the 10th minute before battling back to make it a close one.
FC Tulsa have conceded the fourth-most goals (18) in the league, 17 of which have come in the aforementioned five-match skid. On the other end, they have scored the fourth-most goals (15) in the USL-C and are also fourth-best on conversion rate (21%).
There are some notable connections between the two clubs. First, Kembo Kibato is currently on loan with Tulsa from the Toros. Then, there is the trio of former RGVFC players in key roles for FC Tulsa: Eric Bird, Bradley Bourgeois, and Kevin Garcia. All three players featured under Wilmer Cabrera back in the 2016 season with Bird, who leads RGVFC in all-time appearances and wins, and Garcia moving up to the Houston Dynamo at different junctures.
With a good balance of established veterans and young talent, Tulsa was expected to be in the mix for a championship and will need to start stringing results together to fulfill that potential.
Players to Watch
Joaquin Rivas: The El Salvadoran international has a club-high five goals and is tied for the lead in shots. He’s also added seven key passes.
Bradley Bourgeois: Serving as club captain, he leads Tulsa in clearances and interceptions. The former RGVFC defender has three key passes and assist, providing an attacking threat down the flank.
Rodrigo da Costa: He has three goals and a club-high in assists (3) and chances created (11). da Costa scored the first goal for FC Tulsa in their loss last week vs. Louisville City FC.
Friday, 7:30 PM Central, H-E-B Park
FC Tulsa at RGVFC