Last Saturday, the RGVFC Toros were blown out at home, 5-2, by Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. The Toros got back on track with a 1-1 draw at Austin Bold FC last night. Next up, a showdown with division-leading El Paso Locomotive FC this weekend.
RGVFC Toros (8-6-5)
Playing against Switchbacks FC last weekend, the Toros were just outgunned by the visitors’ explosive attack. Juan Carlos Azocar opened the scoring (after former Toro Deshane Beckford had a penalty kick saved) and Vicente Sanchez equalized after Colorado Springs had bounced back to take a 2-1 lead. But, Switchbacks FC scored three times after the hour-mark to secure all three points at H-E-B Park.
Against Bold FC, a Carter Manley foul in the box allowed Xavier Baez to step up and convert from the spot. The Toros found their equalizer a little more than ten minutes later when Rodrigo Lopez’s free kick delivery was headed in by Elvis Amoh. That was the final scoreline as neither club registered double-digit shot totals and they combined for just three shots on frame.
For the Toros, they didn’t do themselves any favors on the Mountain Division table as they couldn’t defeat either of the two clubs directly below them. The win for Switchbacks FC puts them one point behind RGVFC with a match in-hand while Austin moved into a playoff position after picking up one point last night. At the moment, Azocar is the club’s leading scorer, one goal ahead of Amoh, and Lopez is the club’s leader in assists, one ahead of James Murphy.
The major concern for Wilmer Cabrera & Co. will be the injury to Tyler Deric. After subbing off against Real Monarchs SLC, he has not appeared in goal and has been replaced by Collin Miller. This isn’t to say Miller’s solely responsible for the dropped points or that he isn’t a starting-quality keeper. But, Deric is arguably the best player on the roster for the Toros and his experience and leadership are vital to this club’s success. Without word on the severity of Deric’s injury, the club signed rookie goalkeeper Javier Garcia to back-up Miller for now.
Rodrigo Lopez: Playing the entirety of both matches the last week, Lopez created six chances, registered an assist, and added four tackles. He wore the captain’s armband vs. Colorado Springs.
Elvis Amoh: Finally returning to the mix for the Toros’ attack, Amoh totaled three shots in each match and scored the equalizer vs. Austin. He also drew three fouls across the two matches and gives the club a much-needed presence at striker.
Roberto Albuquerque: He came off the bench vs. Switchbacks FC to register a clearance and an interception. Against Bold FC, he completed 88.9% of his passes, tallied two tackles, and put the ball in the back of the net on a disallowed go-ahead goal.
El Paso Locomotive FC (11-1-5)
The list of clubs to beat El Paso in 2021 includes just one name: RGVFC. Outside of that defeat back in June, Locomotive FC have been arguably the most dominant team in the league. They are unbeaten at home (7-0-2) and have the most clean sheets, fewest goals conceded, and are tied for ninth-most goals scored in the USL Championship. They have pushed their Mountain Division lead to nine points over the Toros and only trail Louisville City FC in points (with one fewer match played).
Before a draw over the weekend vs. New Mexico United, El Paso had a three-match stretch where they outscored their opponents 9-1, winning all three matches. Against New Mexico United, they had to play down a man for more than ten minutes after a red card to Diego Luna. Trailing 1-0 entering stoppage time, Matt Bahner scored the equalizer in the seventh minute of stoppage time. It wasn’t a perfect performance for El Paso, but the great clubs find a way to get results even when they aren’t at their best.
This will be the third meeting between Locomotive FC and the Toros with one win for each club thus far. After this match, they won’t meet again until the final regular season match on October 30th.
Players to Watch
Luis Solignac: He leads the club with six goals and is tied for the club-high with three assists.
Logan Ketterer: One of the league’s best goalkeepers, Ketterer has four clean sheets and a 72.5% save success rate in 13 appearances.
Sebastian Velasquez: A proven, dynamic player in this league, Velasquez has added a spark for El Paso since returning to the club in late June. He has registered one assist and 17 chances created in nine appearances.
Saturday, 8:30 PM CT, Southwest University Park
RGVFC at El Paso Locomotive FC