Photo courtesy Rio Grande Valley FC
EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley FC and OKC Energy FC played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday night at Toro Field. The Toros had the better of the first half, but Memo Rodriguez and Jose Escalante were unable to take advantage, while goalkeeper Callum Irving had to make a good save to deny Energy FC’s Michael Byskov two minutes before the halftime break. The Toros’ Kevin Garcia forced a good save from Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi in the 58th minute. Garcia again went close with 12 minutes to go as he hit the crossbar with a header, while Dzenan Catic was denied by a fine save by Laurendi moments later. Catic then saw his shot cleared off the goal line after a goalmouth scramble, but Energy FC was able to hold on to secure a point on the road.
Three Things That Matter:
1. Throughout their five-game undefeated streak, the Toros have yet concede a goal as their shutout streak reached 450 minutes on Saturday night. That isn’t completely down to the side’s defense, however, and has as much to do with the way the side possesses the ball, and regularly sets the tempo for both sides. RGVFC had much of the game against Energy FC, which allowed it to limit its visitors to mostly looking for success from set pieces, while also fighting a strong rearguard action to earn a point.
2. As fine as the Toros’ possession and build-up has been, aside from the side’s 4-0 victory against Vancouver on July 13 RGVFC has played to four scoreless draws in its last five games. Against Energy FC, the Toros did everything but score, as Kevin Garcia and Dzenan Catic both forced great saves from OKC’s Cody Laurendi, while Garcia also hit the crossbar, and Catic had a chance cleared off the line with Laurendi stranded. Is there some bad luck here? Maybe, but the Toros will be stunned they didn’t take victory.
3. Energy FC held on for another point on Saturday night, but with three consecutive scoreless games, a lot needs to be better if OKC is going to hold onto a top-four playoff position at the end of the season. OKC’s 23 goals this season as in the bottom third of the USL, and for the attacking threats the side has, it wasn’t able to create enough, or possess the ball enough, against the Toros to deserve more than a draw.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kevin Garcia, Rio Grande Valley FC – Garcia was strong all game in midfield, and twice came close to giving his side a goal as the Toros earned another valuable point in their pursuit of a playoff place.
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – August 13, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toro Field
OKC Energy FC vs. LA Galaxy II – August 13, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium