Category: USL

SAFC match with OKC Energy ends in scoreless draw; RGV FC Ties; Texas MLS Recap

The results seem to be very predictable when San Antonio FC plays rivals OKC Energy.  Tough, hard fought and tactical defensive stalemates rule the day.  Saturday night’s match in Oklahoma was no different as SAFC and OKC Energy played to a scoreless draw, the third time this season matches between the two sides have ended in a tie.

There was very little statistically to separate SAFC and OKC Energy during this tight defensive struggle.  Both teams shared a total of five shots on target, demonstrating the dearth of opportunities allowed by the tight and organized defenses.  San Antonio had the best chance of the evening midway through the first half when Billy Forbes, alone against OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, shot wide left after receiving a pass from Jamaican international Omar Gordon-playing his first minutes with SAFC Saturday.  OKC Energy came to life in the last 15 minutes and created a handful of good chances, but were unable to put anything past SAFC’s Diego Restrepo.  The SAFC goalkeeper secured his ninth shutout of the season (tied for the league lead) and lowered his goals against average to a league leading 0.62.

SAFC head coach Darren Powell discussed the difficult nature of games played between his side and OKC Energy in his post-game comments.  “OKC is a very tough place to play. The guys worked extremely hard to earn the point and earning a clean sheet on the road is a positive. Now our job is to prepare for a quick turnaround to play at home in front of our supporters, and we look forward to being home on Wednesday evening.”

San Antonio FC (11-2-9) remains in second place in the United Soccer League Western Conference, 10 points behind leaders Real Monarchs SLC.

The club is playing a stretch of three games in eight days.  SAFC returns to action on Wednesday, August 23 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Toyota Field and then hosts Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday, August 26.

RGVFC TIES WITH VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 2

A 70th minute goal from midfielder TJ Casner allowed Rio Grande Valley FC to come back from an early deficit to tie Vancouver 1-1 in Edinburg Saturday night.  RGV FC is now 7-10-6  on the season and sits in 12th place in the USL Western Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

TEXAS MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RECAP

The road was not kind to either Texas MLS team last weekend.  FC Dallas (FCD) continued its scoring slump in Kansas, losing 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City (SKC).   FCD has scored only 1 goal during a four-game winless streak.  The Houston Dynamo allowed two goals during a 15-minute stretch of the first half and, despite an early second half goal by midfielder Romell Quioto, were unable to overcome the early deficit in a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.  Houston, undefeated at home this year, dropped to 1-8-4 on the road in 2017.

The Dynamo are now tied for second place in the Western Conference with 37 points.  After the loss, FC Dallas dropped to 5th place, 5 points behind conference leaders SKC and only 2 points above the playoff line.  The third and final regular season “Texas Derby” between Dallas and Houston will take place Wednesday, August 23 in Frisco.  The first two matches ended in draws, so the winner of this game will earn the 2018 possession rights to El Capitan, a replica 18th century mountain howitzer cannon, which is awarded to the winner of the season series.

San Antonio FC Suffers Second Loss of Season

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Billy Forbes at Toyota Field earlier this year

San Antonio FC (SAFC) suffered only its second United Soccer League (USL) regular season loss of the year when it fell 2-0 to Reno 1836 in Nevada last Saturday night.

Reno scored a goal in each half to secure the victory and move to within 5 points of SAFC in what is becoming an increasingly tight playoff race in the Western Conference.  Luis Felipe Fernandes scored first in the 25th minute during a sequence of play that began with a corner kick.  After SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made the initial save on the set piece, the defense was unable to clear the ball out of the box and Felipe took advantage to score the opening goal.  The second goal came after a bad giveaway by Restrepo in the 70th minute.  Restrepo, playing well off his line as he frequently does, attempted to clear the ball, but ended up passing it straight to Reno forward Brian Brown who rounded the goalkeeper and walked in for the easiest goal he may have scored in his life.

SAFC had a chance to get back into the match in the 82nd minute when forward Cesar Elizondo was brought down in the box.  Billy Forbes smashed the resulting penalty off the crossbar and this was the last good opportunity of the evening for San Antonio.

After the game, defender Ben Newnam rued the mistakes made by SAFC that led to the goals: “I think we played well in the first half. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot on both goals, we made mistakes and we just need to start putting away our opportunities. If we score first we’re on the front foot and it’s a different game. Now we have to bounce back.”

One interesting side note on the evening was the referee issuing seven yellow cards to SAFC. Home side Reno 1836 had none, despite conceding roughly the same number of fouls as San Antonio.

SAFC (11-2-8, 41 points) remains in second place, but fell further behind conference leaders Real Monarchs SLC who won at home Saturday night.  San Antonio FC will return to USL action on Saturday, August 19 as they travel to face Oklahoma City Energy FC for the third matchup between the two sides this season.

SAFC Loses Lead Late-Ties Orange County 1-1

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Early second half action taken from the third level at Toyota Field

San Antonio-Despite having lost only one game in twenty matches this season, San Antonio FC (SAFC) has had a difficult time holding leads.  At Toyota Field on Saturday night, for the third consecutive home match, SAFC conceded a late goal and ended up drawing with Orange County SC (OCSC) 1-1.

Saturday night’s breakdown occurred in the 4th minute of Added Extra Time when SAFC midfielder Michael Reed fouled Orange County’s Gustavo Villalobos in the penalty area.  Shortly thereafter, half-time substitute Jerry Van Ewijk converted the penalty and SAFC was left to rue the dropped points yet again.  The locals have not lost at home, yet have frustratingly drawn 6 of the 12 matches played at Toyota Field this season.

SAFC had taken an early lead when midfielder Kris Tyrpak got on the end of a Greg Cochrane cross to beat OCSC goalkeeper Charlie Lyon at the far post to score his fifth of the season.  This goal was the fastest goal in SAFC history, coming officially at 1:34 into the match.

In post-game comments, San Antonio head coach Darren Powell addressed the unfortunate late goal.  “Tonight, in moments we had some really good spouts of play, good passages of play and great chances on goal. Obviously, we got the early goal, but then we were unable to press on and get the second one. That’s the case in the game of soccer when you’re playing a well-coached team that get a chance at the end in the winding moments of the game.”

The frustration he expressed came from the inability of San Antonio FC, despite multiple chances, to score the second goal after taking the early lead.  In the 17th minute, SAFC’s leading scorer Billy Forbes hit the near post with his shot, after an excellent pass from forward AJ Ajeekwa put him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.  In the 62nd minute Rafa Castillo, taking advantage of momentary disruption caused by multiple substitutions, created space and hit a long-range shot that crashed off the crossbar.  Finally, SAFC had four good chances during an attacking sequence in the 70th minute, including a ball that defender Sebastian Ibeagha skimmed off the top of the crossbar from a corner kick.

OCSC pressed late in the match and had excellent opportunities of its own, the most dangerous coming when midfielder Dusan Stevanovic found space 15 yards from goal and blasted a shot just over the SAFC goal.  The OCSC effort was rewarded when the late penalty was called, even if the 6,725 in attendance loudly expressed their collective opinion that it never should have been called in the first place.

San Antonio (11-1-8-41 points) remains in second place in the United Soccer League’s Western Conference, though did pick up a point on first place Real Monarchs SLC (15-3-3-48 points), losers Saturday night in Oklahoma City.

San Antonio FC will next play on Saturday, August 12 when it makes the first ever visit to Nevada to play Reno 1868 FC.

Texas Professional Soccer Weekly Preview

 

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You be the “Y” in this picture.

PREVIEWS FOR MLS WEEK 22 and USL WEEK 20:

Major League Soccer (MLS):

Real Salt Lake (RSL) (7-12-4-25 points-8th place) vs. (Houston Dynamo (9-7-6-33 points-3rd place)-Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT-9:00 p.m. CDT-Saturday, August 5, 2017.

  • Dynamo beat RSL 5-1 earlier in the season, but face a much different side with key players returning from international duty and injuries who weren’t available at the loss in Houston.
  • Houston is 2-6-4 playing RSL in Utah, but have won three straight against them overall.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/08/03/real-salt-lake-vs-houston-dynamo-2017-mls-match-preview

Philadelphia Union (7-10-5-26 points-9th place East) vs. FC Dallas (9-4-7-34 points-2nd place West)-Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA-6:00 p.m. CDT-Saturday, August 5, 2017

  • FC Dallas will be shorthanded again this week.  Atiba Harris (yellow card accumulation), Carlos Gruezo (red card suspension) will miss the match.
  • Philadelphia has never beaten FC Dallas (0-5-4) in regular season MLS action.

Preview from Big D Soccer:

https://www.bigdsoccer.com/2017-season/2017/8/4/16094966/fc-dallas-vs-philadelphia-union-preview-tv-schedule-watch-online

United Soccer League (USL):

San Antonio FC (11-1-7-40 points-2nd place) vs. Orange County SC (7-5-4-25 points-9th place)-Toyota Field, San Antonio-7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 5, 2017

  • San Antonio FC signed Mexican-American forward Ever Guzman for the rest of the 2017 USL season, pending league and federation clearance. Guzman joins the club with 10-plus years as a professional in the first and second divisions of Mexico and provides another needed good choice up front.
  • Orange County is only one point out of a playoff spot despite having played anywhere between 2 and 5 less games than all the teams ahead of them in the standings.  It comes to San Antonio after a midweek loss to LA Galaxy 2. The team has played so few games because it has been waiting for the opening of a new stadium described in the article below:

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/07/17/irvines-great-park-sports-park-with-soccer-stadium-and-fields-tennis-and-volleyball-courts-opens-aug-5/

Game preview from the San Antonio FC website:

http://www.sanantoniofc.com/news_article/show/820389?referrer_id=2436046

Seattle Sounders 2 FC (S2) (7-12-2-23 points-10th place) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) (6-10-4-22 points-12th place)-Starfire Sports Complex-Tukwila, WA-08:30 p.m. C.D.T.-Sunday, August 6, 2017

  • The Toros finish the three game Pacific Northwest trip in Seattle tonight.  A loss to Portland and midweek draw with Vancouver leave the RGV FC in a position where wins are becoming very important to keep hopes for a playoff spot alive.
  • Midfielder Jose Escalante was named as the winner of the USL Goal of the Week:

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):

Portland Thorns (7-4-4-25 points-3rd place) vs. Houston Dash (6-7-2-20 points-6th place)-Providence Park, Portland, OR-1:00 p.m. C.D.T

Article from Four Four Two on three possible explanations for the recent Houston Dash turnaround.  They are now only 8 points out of first place and have renewed playoff hopes:

  1.  Easier schedule recently (though Dash players avidly dispute this answer).
  2.  Game day lineup stability since head coach Omar Morales took over a few months ago
  3. US International Carli Lloyd returned from her loan to Manchester City FC.  This is maybe the best explanation. She is pretty good.

https://www.fourfourtwo.com/us/features/houston-dash-2017-nwsl-season-slow-start-turnaround-carli-lloyd?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_m_medium=t

Texas Professional Soccer Weekly Preview

PREVIEWS FOR MLS WEEK 21 and USL WEEK 19:

Major League Soccer (MLS):

Houston Dynamo (9-7-5-32 points-3rd place) vs. Portland Timbers (8-8-6-30-points-4th place)-BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston-7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017.

Match Preview from mlssoccer.com:

  • Portland has never won in Houston
  • AJ DeLaGarza’s comments after road win in DC last Saturday:

“We didn’t come into the season wanting to win one road game,” DeLaGarza said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have [six] more road games. We have to continue to get points, and if we don’t win this weekend then what really did that win at D.C. do for us?”

  • New playmaker Tomas Martinez, a classic Argentine No. 10 who officially joined up with the club on July 17, will not play this weekend as he gets acclimated to Houston and the club.

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-07-29-houston-dynamo-vs-portland-timbers/preview

Preview article from the Oregonian including press conference with Timbers head coach Caleb Porter:

http://www.oregonlive.com/timbers/index.ssf/2017/07/portland_timbers_looking_for_a.html

FC Dallas (9-3-7-34 points-1st place) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8-8-3-27 points-6th place)-Toyota Park, Frisco-7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017

Match Preview from mlssoccer.com:

  • The teams have evenly split their last six MLS games, dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season (2-2-2).  Dallas has won both of their home games by a 2-0 scoreline during this six-game stretch
  • Head coach Oscar Pareja commenting on Christian Colman finally breaking through with 2 goals in Montreal last Saturday:

“It’s important for Cristian to score, we have been waiting for this moment,” Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said after the match that night. “As a kid, he worked hard. He has been trying to adapt to the league, trying to adapt to the culture of the group, and all what he has done is just kept working. And today the game rewarded him and I’m very happy for him.”

  • FC Dallas get international players back, but will need to play with a makeshift back line again as outside backs Maynor Figueroa and Hernan Grana are suspended for yellow-card accumulation

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-07-29-fc-dallas-vs-vancouver-whitecaps-fc/preview

Canadian National post article on Whitecaps Yordy Reyna:

FC Dallas will need to account for Peruvian midfielder and difference maker Yordy Reyna who may make his first start this season after returning from a broken foot injury suffered in the preseason:

http://nationalpost.com/g00/sports/soccer/mls/vancouver-whitecaps/whitecaps-reyna-looking-to-turn-the-page/wcm/c92fa34b-b1aa-42e7-8b97-48e5ce46f918?i10c.referrer=

United Soccer League (USL):

Phoenix Rising (6-6-4-22 points-11th place) vs. San Antonio FC (10-1-7-37 points-3rd place)- Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, Scottsdale, AZ-10:00 p.m. C.D.T.

  • This will be the first time San Antonio FC faces legendary forward Didier Drogba
  • Just over the halfway mark of the 2017 campaign, San Antonio FC matched its points total from last year in just 17 matches this season. The club’s 10-1-6 record 17 matches into the season added up to 36 points, which was the same amount that the team reached after their 30 matches in 2016

USL Stat-Pack on uslsoccer.com

http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/818114?referrer_id=2349190

Match Preview on the Phoenix Rising Website:

http://www.phxrisingfc.com/news_article/show/818202?referrer_id=2717359

Portland Timbers 2 (T2) (1-15-3-6 points-last place) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) (6-9-3-21 points-12th place)-Providence Park, Portland, OR-10:00 p.m. C.D.T.

  • Rio Grande Valley FC starts a 3 game Pacific Northwest trip in Portland
  • The Toros are 2-5-1 on the road this season and have been outscored 18-6

Match Preview on Portland T2 website:

https://www.timbers.com/post/2017/07/27/usl-match-preview-stream-t2-host-rio-grande-valley-fc-toros-providence-park-saturday

RGV FC Toros Mid-Season Review

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Rio Grande Valley FC will arrive at the halfway point of its United Soccer League (USL) season when it completes tomorrow night’s game against Orange County FC at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.  Through 15 games of their 32 game schedule, they are 6-7-2 (20 points) and sit two places outside the final playoff spot in 10th place in the Western Conference.

It is time to take a mid-season look at what the Toros have accomplished to this point and what lies ahead.

First Half Observations:

Season Highlight Match:    RGV FC-3   OKC Energy-0  (April 29th)

“We see this performance as something to build off.”  Midfielder Eric Bird said this in the game story after this match on the USL website.  After the dominating performance against the Energy, it was hard not to be optimistic.  Eric Bird ran onto a perfect pass from Dynamo loan midfielder Joe Holland to score the opening goal in the 8th minute.  Holland then scored his first goal as a professional in the 38th minute.  Another Dynamo loanee, Jose Escalante, put the game away when he scored midway through the second half.  Most impressively, 8 of their 9 shots were on target.  The Toros defense was well organized and OKC was able to only put 1 of its 13 shots on goal.

This performance came on the heels of a slow and inconsistent start to the season, including a disappointing home loss to Tulsa the weekend before.  A week later RGV FC beat Swope Park and was then on a streak of 3 wins in 4 matches.  Things were looking up at that time.

Most Disappointing Match:    RGV FC-0   LA Galaxy 2 (Los Dos)-1 (June 17th)

It would very easy to pick the two blow-out losses the Toros suffered in Sacramento and Kansas City for this “honor”.  The home loss to Galaxy 2 sticks out as the most disappointing in my estimation.  The Toros played Los Dos twice at home in less than a month.  The first match resulted in a 1-1 draw where RGV FC gave up a second half goal to surrender the early lead built from Kyle Murphy’s 36th minute goal.  So Toros fans were looking for payback a few weeks later when Los Dos returned.  What the record crowd for a USL match at H-E-B Park of 8,656 saw instead was a 1-0 loss on a bad giveaway that allowed 16-year-old Jonah Estrada to score his first ever professional goal. On the other end, 445 passes and 60% of the possession turned into a grand total of 2 shots on goal by the Toros.

This match was a bad send off for the three game road trip coming next. Though the Toros were able to pull out an impressive win against Colorado Springs, a week after the Switchbacks had ended San Antonio’s season opening undefeated streak, they also suffered two humiliating losses, 6-2 in Sacramento and 4-0 to Swope Park to return home on a real down note.

Player who has impressed me the most this year:  Kai Greene (outside back)

Greene has really stepped up his game in 2017 and he certainly doesn’t lack for confidence.  “I feel like I’m the best one-on-one defender in the league, to be honest.”  A USL Team of the Week place earlier in the year is proof that others are recognizing his quality too.

The link below is a profile on Greene published on May 19 in McAllen’s The Monitor by Greg Luca (quote above is from this article):

http://www.themonitor.com/sports/article_45e5a328-3d01-11e7-9378-f72b19660db7.html

Charlie Ward Promoted to Dynamo:

On June 30th the Houston Dynamo announced that midfield iron-man Charlie Ward had signed an MLS contract and would join the Dynamo roster, becoming the 6th Toro to be promoted to the Dynamo in the short history of RGV FC.  Despite his move to Houston, the Toros have likely not seen the last of Ward, who likely will join the Toros regularly on loan when the Dynamo players currently involved in the CONCACAF Gold Cup return.

Dynamo and former Toros head coach Wilmer Cabrera explained why Ward had been added to the roster in comments in a Dynamo Press Release earlier this month:

“Throughout the six months he has played there and every time he comes and join us, he proves that he has enough quality to be part of the Houston Dynamo. After the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games that he played here he earned the right to be here because what he has shown in the field and what he has brought to the team,” Cabrera said. “We are happy to bring him, we here happy that he has earned the right to be with the first-team.”

First-Half Statistical Notes:

  • Ivan Magalhaes is the only player who has started all 15 matches and leads the team with 1,350 minutes-playing every minute of every match.  Not surprisingly, Magalhaes leads the team in the majority of defensive statistical categories.
  • Memo Rodriquez and Ruben Luna lead the team with 3 goals each.  Rodriquez, who scored all his goals in a single match, is not likely to be returning to RGV FC anytime soon as he is now a regular in the Dynamo game day lineup.  Eric Bird and Todd Murphy have two goals apiece.  The team sits in 24th place in the league with only 17 total goals…only 3 more than league leader Romario Williams from Charleston has scored himself.
  • Emilio Garcia, on loan from Pachuca, and Todd Wharton lead the team with two assists.
  • RGV FC is near the bottom (28th out of 30) of the league in total shots (145) but tied for 13th in conversion rate (14%).
  • Garcia leads with 16 chances created, despite only appearing in 11 games.
  • Borja Angoitia, who has played 8 of the 15 matches, leads with 16 saves.  Dynamo loanee Calle Brown has one more shutout (3) than Angoitia.  Because Angoitia was in the net for the Sacramento and Swope losses, he has conceded 14 of the 20 goals the team has conceded this year.
  • Jorginho James and Todd Wharton each have 4 yellow cards.  Both are on Accumulation Warnings and will be suspended for the next yellow card.  Victor Garza received the only red card of the year early in the season. Interestingly forward Ruben Luna has conceded the most fouls this year (28).

Second Half Preview:

Upcoming Schedule:

Home: 8   Away: 9

The season resumes with back-to-back home and away matches against Orange County SC, tomorrow night in Edinburg and Saturday in Southern California.  OC is 2 points back of the Toros, but have only played 12 games so far…the fewest in the league.

Longest home-stand:  2 games (twice)-August 12 and 19 and Sept. 9 and 16th.

Longest road stretch:  3 games-July 29 through August 6 in the Pacific Northwest.

USL Texas Derby matches:  2 games in the final 4 weeks of season (including the regular season finale)…both in San Antonio.

The challenging remaining schedule includes 4 matches against Western Conference leaders Real Monarchs SLC and San Antonio FC.

Camilo Monroy:

The young Columbian attacker has been the most exciting Toro player when he has been on the field this year.  Unfortunately, injuries have held him back and he has only played in 5 games. I will welcome seeing a lot more of him in the second half of the season.

Jose Escalante/Christian Lucatero:

Another young Latin American attacking player (from Honduras), Jose Escalante, has had limited impact this season.  Like fellow Toro and Dynamo Academy graduate Christian Lucatero, Escalante is at RGV FC on loan and doesn’t count against the Dynamo’s international roster slots. Since Houston now has a full complement of international players, with the acquisition of young DP Tomas Martinez earlier this week, I suspect this means Escalante will be with the Toros for the remainder of the year. Neither Escalante or Lucatero have been as impactful as Dynamo/Toro fans in general would like to see at RGV.  Escalante has played significant minutes in 11 games but only has 1 goal and 0 assists.  He has shown glimpses, making 8 key passes that have not been finished and almost scoring a blistering goal from long distance in Oklahoma that would have been a strong contender for USL Goal of the Year if it had gone in. Lucatero, on the other hand doesn’t get on the field very often.  He has only played 180 minutes so far this year with 0 goals, but he is still very young and being brought along at a pace the Dynamo and Toro head coach Junior Gonzalez must feel is appropriate. Patience is required.  That said, more should be expected from both of these highly regarded future Dynamo players and I hope we see it in the second half.

Playoff Possibilities:  

8 teams qualify for the playoffs in the Western Conference.  As was proven last year, what happens after the USL playoffs start is a roll of the dice.  The top three seeds, including RGV FC, lost opening round games in 2016, leaving 4th seed Swope Park a clear path to the USL Championship game. Whether the Toros will now begin to make a run into the playoffs is an open question.  The team is only 2 points out of the 8th playoff slot, but also only 5 points from 14th place.

Real Monarchs, SAFC and Swope Park appear to be well on their way to securing the top 3 slots in the West.  Only Portland Timbers 2 appear to be completely out of the running for the playoffs.  Otherwise the remaining 11 Western Conference teams are separated by only 11 points.  The math for the remaining 5 slots is complicated by the fact that the number of games played so far by playoff hopefuls ranges from 12, earlier highlighted for Orange County, to 19.  On a points per game basis, RGV FC would be in the playoffs, but the games have to be played and results achieved.

It is hard to tell what we will see out of the Toros for the remainder of the year because the team has been so inconsistent.  The attendance has been excellent this year in the beautiful new stadium.   Hopefully a run to the playoffs will galvanize even more support in the Valley for this new team.   My earlier article (with a number of photos) detailing my visit to the new stadium is in the link below:

https://txsoccerjournal.com/2017/04/01/the-best-division-2-soccer-stadium-in-the-united-states/

This is about the time of the season when the Toros went 8 consecutive games without allowing a goal last year.  Now would be the time to get this rolling again if the playoffs are to happen.

Below is a link to RGV FC’s Midseason Marks by Carson Merk in the The Bull and Its Horns on SB Nation’s Dynamo Theory site.  Carson covers the team on a routine basis as closely as anybody else and is a good source of Toros knowledge.

https://www.dynamotheory.com/2017/7/12/15950308/the-bull-its-horns-midseason-marks-rgvfc

MLS Week 18, USL Week 15 Texas Preview

Major League Soccer (MLS):

FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC

Toyota Field-Dallas-7:00 p.m., CDT,  Saturday, July 1, 2017 

  • This game is clearly the best in MLS this week.  Unfortunately, both sides will be missing key pieces due to international duty….FC Dallas starters Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta will not be available.  Toronto FC will have U.S. Internationals Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley on the game day roster, however, because they were not included in the group-stage U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
  • FC Dallas has never lost a home game to Toronto (6-0-2).  This is a much better Toronto team then when they last played in Dallas two years ago.
  • Toronto FC after winning the Canadian Championship Wednesday is interested in more trophies:  “We want to win every trophy; compete for every competition we’re in,” Michael Bradley said after that win. “At the end of the year we want to be the team that has held up the best, won the most, competed the hardest, and won the trophies. We got our first chance tonight.”

https://matchcenter.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter/2017-07-01-fc-dallas-vs-toronto-fc/preview

Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park-Commerce City, CO-8:00 p.m, CDT,  Saturday, July 1, 2017

  • Both teams are licking their wounds after being knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup midweek.  The Rapids lost 3 starters to injuries in its loss in Dallas and it is unclear if any of these players will be available Saturday night. Midfielder Michael Azira will miss the match due to card accumulation.
  • Colorado is a good home team at altitude (5-3-1) and have won 3 out of their last 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium after a miserable start to the season.  Colorado has lost just one of its last 13 regular season meetings against Houston (7-1-5).
  • A very frightening statistic for Dynamo fans…..Houston has only won twice in their last 33 regular season MLS away games (2-21-10).
  • The Dynamo played a reserve roster in the Open Cup loss to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday. Wilmer Cabrera said this was on purpose and demonstrated where his priorities lie in a post-game interview : “If we didn’t play the first team [on Wednesday], it’s because we have the goal to work to try and get to the playoffs,” Cabrera noted after Wednesday’s Open Cup loss.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/06/30/colorado-rapids-vs-houston-dynamo-2017-mls-match-preview

United Soccer League (USL):

Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC)

Weidner Field-Colorado Springs, CO-9:00 p.m., CDT,  Saturday, July 1, 2017

  • How will the Toros respond to the 6-2 shellacking they took 9 days ago in Sacramento against a Switchbacks side that is riding high after handing SAFC their first loss of the season?
  • Three of the Toros players, including Charlie Ward who signed an MLS contract today with the Dynamo, played in Houston’s 2-0 loss to Sporting KC in the USOC Wednesday night.
  • Colorado Springs dangerous left-back Josh Suggs, who tormented SAFC and seemingly spent the entire night playing as a winger last weekend, is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation.

http://www.uslsoccer.com/news_article/show/809543?referrer_id=2430124

Sacramento United vs. San Antonio FC (SAFC)

Papa Murphy’s Park-Sacramento, CA-10:00 p.m., CDT,  Saturday, July 1, 2017

  • How will young goalkeeper Lee Johnston handle his first start, likely replacing Diego Restrepo who received a red card ejection against Colorado Springs last week?
  • Sacramento United, nearing the end of a string of multiple-game weeks, will likely rotate the squad this weekend after the loss to LA Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.
  • After defeating the Galaxy’s USL team last weekend, the Union have now won three consecutive league matches.  Since the club changed its tactical approach a few weeks ago, the offense has awoken.  Forward Trevin Caesar has scored four goals in the last two games.

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