Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGV FC)-3 Colorado Springs Switchbacks-1 (H-E-B Park, Edinburg)
RGV: Memo Rodriquez-18, 44 Camilo Monroy-64 (Eric Bird) CO-Chris James-46
Fresh off his debut appearance with the first team a week ago Saturday, Memo Rodriquez made a triumphant return to the Rio Valley last Wednesday, scoring twice in RGVFC’s 3-1 victory over Colorado Springs. His first goal came when he anticipated a poor back pass and lobbed the goalkeeper. His second also came off a Colorado Springs poor first touch, but he took advantage of the mistake and blasted an upper corner shot from just inside the penalty area. Rodriquez’s initial goal was the first scored by the Toros from the run of play this season.
Eric Bird Continues to Set the Table
Eric Bird created 5 chances during the game and assisted on the third goal scored by exciting young Columbian Camilo Monroy. Bird and Charlie Ward, who have both played every minute this season, have continued their excellent partnership in the center midfield from last year. A preseason injury deprived Ward of the opportunity he sought to move up to the Dynamo, though RGV FC has to be happy that he remains, at least for awhile.
After watching Earthquakes high Super Draft pick Jackson Yueill play against San Antonio FC on Saturday, it made me wonder why the Dynamo have not sent their first round pick, Joe Holland, down to get game experience in USL too. Yueill was not likely to get much game action in San Jose, so he was sent to Reno at the beginning of the season and has played every minute so far. Holland has been part of every game day roster for the Dynamo this year since week one, partially because of injuries, but has seen no action yet. On the surface, it would seem to be good for his development to loan him to the Toros to play, at least part of the time. He does play center midfield, however, so it may be that Bird and Ward are standing in his way. Sending Holland to the Valley to sit on the bench doesn’t make a lot of sense, so he stays in Houston.
The Toros will be seeking revenge for the loss they suffered in Week 2 when they meet Tulsa Roughnecks in Edinburg on Saturday.
San Antonio FC (SAFC)-4 Reno 1868-0 (Toyota Field, San Antonio)
SA: Billy Forbes-34 (Greg Cochrane), Cesar Elizando-67 (Billy Forbes), 79 (Sebastian Ibeagha), Rafa Castillo-90 (Penalty) RE-None
Who Needs Franck Tayou?
SAFC announced early in the preseason that forward Franck Tayou, who had played well after arriving in the middle of the 2016 season, would be returning for 2017. Then a few weeks before the beginning of the season he was released, apparently because he wanted to finish his indoor season and would report late to SAFC. There was a lot of concern on the part of the fan base about where the goals were going to come from this year. So far not a problem. Cesar Elizando, another returning forward, has stepped into Tayou’s place and now there isn’t as much worry in the stands. Elizando, who scored twice against Reno Saturday night in a convincing 4-0 victory, looks like he has been playing with Billy Forbes forever, instead of just a few weeks.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Four games this year and one goal conceded. It is fun to watch SAFC defend in depth, as they play with a well-coached organized defensive mentality from front to back. Having three defenders who have been part of MLS rosters helps. The intensity of their defensive effort when danger threatens demonstrates that they seemingly take any goal conceded personally as a collected unit. 32 clearances on Saturday is evidence of this ability to react. When they do allow shots-on-goal, goalkeeper Matt Cardone has been ready to react too, as he did a few times against Reno’s dangerous attackers……especially on attempts by Dane Kelly and Junior Burgos.
The Road Beckons
After four games, SAFC is in first place in the Western Conference with a 3-0-1 record and a USL leading plus-8 goal differential. Three of the first four have been played at home and now it is time to head to the northwest to play three games in a week against Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. Of these three, only Vancouver sits in a playoff spot now. Portland is winless. The start has been impressive. Can SAFC keep it going on the first lengthy road trip of the year?