A wild final 20 minutes out West on Wednesday.
The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros began their three-game road trip on Wednesday night at Los Dos (LA Galaxy II) and it was nothing close to what I expected. The last 15 minutes plus injury time of the game were more than enough, but there was more than the game itself. The Toros went with nearly a “B” team as there was a quick turn around leading to the game. The starting 11 that the Toros presented had quite a few changes as David Cabrera got the starting nod, as well as Zach Jackson. Other notables in the 11 were Kevin Rodriguez and Conor Donovan.
The first half always seems to give the Toros issues as they were forced to defend constantly as Los Dos had the early chances. Additionally, RGV has a pattern of ceding the initiative early on and thus they have to chase the game. Gerson Echeverry’s side got their first chance off of a Carlos Small effort that was blocked. However, Los Dos kept the pressure up and in the 39th minute, they scored the opening goal. Small nearly equalized the game, but the effort went straight to the keeper. The score was 1-0 heading into the break.
During the second half, Los Dos kept the pressure up on the Toros and found a second goal on a counter attack. The Toros made all three subs by introducing Maalique Foster, Isidro Martinez, and Michael Salazar to bolster the offensive opportunities. The changes paid off after the second score allowed as Salazar pulled one back for RGV off of a Foster pass. Not content to score only once, Salazar scored once again from a Robert Coronado feed to equalize the game. The Toros took advantage of a set piece opportunity which Small converted for the 3-2 lead.
The game conclusion and thoughts
Los Dos equalized the game at three-all just a few minutes later as Nicholas DePuy potted in a set piece chance. As injury time started, Salazar ended his Man of the Match performance by scoring his third goal of the game during a 14-minute spell. As injury time expired, Los Dos found a very late equalizer to snag a point from the match. Giving up advantages was a theme for RGV last season and it seems to continue this season as well. The improvements are there the defending just needs a bit of tidying up in order to produce a full ninety-minute match. Additionally, protecting a slender advantage is not a forte of RGV as the most recent example was the match against Los Dos.
Up next for the Toros
The Toros will continue their road swing as they will face the Portland Timbers 2. Timbers 2 are no longer a surprise side after last season’s playoff appearance. The team has been significantly better with the addition of Todd Wharton, who captained the Toros last season. Historically, since the Toros first ever win at Portland in the 2016 season, four losses and a draw have been the results against T2.
Top photo credit to Christian Inoferio