RGVFC came up short last Friday in the South Texas Derby, losing to San Antonio FC at H-E-B Park, 3-1. Robert Castellanos scored the goal for the Toros while SAFC got goals from Blake Smith, Luis Solignac, and Gonzalo Di Renzo.
RGVFC Toros (0-7-3)
In their most recent loss to San Antonio, it wasn’t like the Toros were played off the pitch. After conceding two early goals, they continued to battle. Caste’s goal pulled one back and at times, it looked like the Toros would find an equalizer. But, a horrible miscue from Paul Blanchette gave SAFC a 3-1 lead and that was all she wrote. In stoppage time, Blanchette did save a penalty to keep the scoreline a bit more respectable.
Right now, the major issue is there is no proven option to step in at striker or goalkeeper. Up top, the production has not been there from any of the forwards, but there is no Michael Salazar Jr. or even Carlos Small to turn to for goals. On the other end, Blanchette has made some major mistakes this season, but with Ben Willis injured, the only other option is GK coach/player Ryan Coulter.
After Friday’s loss, the Toros have now played ten matches this season. Now seems like a good time to compare the stats across Group D, despite every club not playing ten matches.
(RGV, SAFC, OKC: 10 matches. TUL: 8. AUS: 9)
A quick side note, the Toros announced Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. as the August Player of the Month, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure how that decision was made. Take a peek at the two players below…
Played in 4/5 matches (twice as a substitute), never played an entire match
Seven shots (three on target), one goal
Played in 5/5 matches (never came off the pitch)
Nine shots (two on target), two goals
Player A was JC, who won the award and plays as a striker. Player B was Castellanos, who I feel should have won the award and captains the team as a central defender. Those stats were limited to the attack because Caste clearly has a major edge in defense and distribution. It’s small in the grand scheme of things, just interesting.
Robert Castellanos: The captain scored the lone goal for RGVFC with a nice left-footed finish in the box. He added three clearances and two interceptions on the defensive end.
Ian Hoffmann: He definitely caught my eye in his long-awaited debut. He was active on the wing, trying to break down defenders with the ball at his feet or playing it into his teammates. Hoffman was also a willing defender, making four tackles and intercepting two passes.
Jonathan Jimenez: He brought good energy off the bench for the Toros as they pushed for the equalizer, driving at defenders. He won all four of his duels and was able to draw two fouls in less than a full half of action.
This Week’s Quote-A-Bull: Robert Castellanos
On the mindset entering the FC Tulsa match:
“We have to keep our heads up and continue to fight. We are the only ones that can change the situation.”
FC Tulsa (2-2-4)
On paper, FC Tulsa have one of the most talented teams in the USL, but they can’t seem to put results together with that talent. After back-to-back wins in early August, Tulsa has gone four straight matches without a victory (two draws, two losses). Their most recent outing was a non-group match loss vs. Sporting Kansas City II.
Dario Suarez and Ariel Martinez are starting to find their form in the attack during their first full season in the league and the club has veterans all around the pitch including Lebo Moloto and former Toros Eric Bird, Kevin Garcia, and Bradley Bourgeois.
San Antonio FC (7-0-3)
After the Tampa Bay Rowdies lost to Charleston their last time out, SAFC are officially the only unbeaten team in the USL Championship. They’ve won three straight matches and they will be well-rested with no mid-week match ahead of their matchup with RGVFC on Saturday. Blake Smith earned a Team of the Week honor after his performance vs. the Toros.
While the attack is eye-catching and receives deserved credit for the success thus far, San Antonio has the fewest goals conceded in the league (five in ten matches) and the most clean sheets (six). Players like Josh Yaro, Mitchell Taintor, Hunter Gorskie, Kai Greene, and Connor Maloney have done well to stifle opposing attacks and Matt Cardone has stepped up when needed. It’s tough as an opposing club to know that you will likely concede a goal (SAFC has only been shutout once) and that it’s going to be a difficult mission to pull a goal back. Funny enough, the Toros have scored two of the five conceded goals for San Antonio.
Tonight, 7 PM CT, at ONEOK Field
RGVFC at FC Tulsa
Saturday, 8 PM CT, at Toyota Field
RGVFC at San Antonio FC