Photo courtesy Charis Wilson / Seattle Sounders FC 2
TUKWILA, Wash. – Rio Grande Valley FC came back from a two-goal halftime deficit to earn a 4-3 victory against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday night at Starfire Stadium to snap a six-game winless streak. S2 took the lead in the 10th minute as a good move down the left side came to Irvin Parra, and his low cross into the penalty area was put home first time by Felix Chenkam with a deft finish. The Toros almost hit back eight minutes later, only for Jose Escalante’s curling shot to be turned away by S2 goalkeeper Tyler Miller. RGVFC’s Kyle Murphy also hit the post from a tight angle moments later, but the Toros leveled the score in the 23rd minute as Murphy headed home Escalante’s cross from the left. Both teams had chances following the equalizer, but Seattle regained the lead nine minutes before halftime as Zach Mather’s powered a low finish from 25 yards into the right corner of the net. S2 added a third in the 42nd minute as Francisco Narbon flicked home a header off a cross by Lorenzo Ramos from the right, but the Toros hit back seven minutes into the second half with an excellent low finish by Jorginho James from 25 yards. Rio Grande Valley FC leveled in the 61st minute as Escalante found space on the left and tried to cross to the back post, only for his chip to find the right side-netting, and then took the lead seven minutes later as Joe Holland caught Miller cheating off his line for a cross and fired home from a tight angle on the right. S2 had a big chance to respond with 16 minutes to go as Henry Wingo controlled and turned, but send his finish from 13 yards wide of the left post, but the hosts were unable to find an equalizer as the Toros took home victory.
10’ – SEA – Felix Chenkam (Irvin Parra)
23’ – RGV – Kyle Murphy (Jose Escalante)
36’ – SEA – Zach Mathers (Felix Chenkam)
42’ – SEA – Francisco Narbon (Lorenzo Ramos)
52’ – RGV – Jorginho James
61’ – RGV – Jose Escalante
68 – RGV – Joe Holland (Kyle Murphy)
Three Things That Matter:
1. There have been some dramatic comeback victories this season – Ottawa Fury FC’s dramatic wins in May against the New York Red Bulls II and Richmond Kickers springing to mind immediately – but given the Toros’ current state in the race for the USL Cup Playoffs, Sunday’s victory might be the most important in this category we’ve seen so far this season. Down two goals at halftime, and on a six-game winless streak, the Toros needed this game badly. Thanks to three goals in 16 minutes in the second half, they got just what they needed to get back into the playoff race.
2. As big a turning point as this might be for Rio Grande Valley, this is going to be a result that should S2 miss out on the postseason by a narrow margin it will look back on with major regret. S2 had put itself into a great position thanks to another excellent goal by Zach Mathers, and a fine finish by Francisco Narbon to hold a solid halftime lead. S2 could have struck in the second half, too, as the Toros mounted their comeback, with Henry Wingo’s close-range finish that was blocked in the 59th minute when S2 still let a potential game-changer had it found the net. Instead, S2’s losing streak is now at six games, and the pressure to break it continues to build.
3. The most striking thing about the Toros’ comeback on Sunday evening was the quality finishes the side produced when it needed it most. Jorginho James got the rally going with a tremendous strike from distance, almost mirroring Zach Mathers’ goal for S2 in the first half, only picking out the left corner of the net instead of the right. The remaining two goals bore resemblance to each other too, although there was maybe a slight touch of fortune on Jose Escalante’s delivery that found the net instead of a runner at the back post. Joe Holland’s effort from a similar place on the right side of the penalty area, however, was a pure shot as the English midfielder spotted Tyler Miller cheating off his post for the cross and bent his finish just inside the post for what proved the winner.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jose Escalante, Rio Grande Valley FC – Escalante’s goal may have been fortunate, but he was a threat throughout the game and also added an assist as the Toros took a big road victory.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – August 13, 9:30 p.m. ET, Starfire Stadium
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Phoenix Rising FC – August 12, 8:30 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park