Photo courtesy Rio Grande Valley FC
EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley FC scored three times in the final 15 minutes to claim a 3-0 victory against San Antonio FC on Saturday night at Toro Park, leaving eighth-place SAFC to await other results to determine whether it would be part of the postseason. San Antonio’s Rafael Castillo forced the first save of the game with a free kick effort that was denied by RGVFC goalkeeper Devin Perales, but while the team exchanged chances throughout the first half, the game went to the break scoreless. The physicality ramped up in the second half, with both sides receiving yellow cards, but despite high winds the side continued to look for a breakthrough. Shawn Chin went close for San Antonio, shooting just wide of the right post in the 58th minute, while Ruben Luna curled a shot wide 10 minutes later for RGVFC. The Toros took the lead with 12 minutes to go, however, as Memo Rodriguez cut a cross back from the left side of the penalty area to Eric Bird, whose shot in the inside of the right post, and in. Bird flashed a shot just wide of the right post two minutes later as the hosts looked to put the game away, but Ruben Luna’s goal in the 83rd minute off a cross by Kevin Garcia and a stoppage-time goal by Yair Arboleda locked up victory for the Toros, and left San Antonio to await its playoff fate.
78’ – RGV – Eric Bird (Memo Rodriguez)
83’ – RGV – Ruben Luna (Kevin Garcia)
90+’ – RGV – Yair Arboleda (Memo Rodriguez)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Rio Grande Valley won’t finish in first place in the Western Conference thanks to Sacramento Republic FC’s win in Tulsa, but their victory on Saturday night was another impressive display that illustrates what a threat the Toros will be in the postseason. RGVFC has gone 7-2-1 over the final third of the season, and possesses numerous attacking threats that can apply pressure to opposing defenses. Memo Rodriguez’s led the way with two assists on Saturday night, but this is a side that will come at you in waves, and can be difficult to withstand.
2. The opening goal was always going to be important in this contest, and San Antonio had some chances to find the breakthrough before the Toros took the game away late on. Now SAFC has to sit and await other results that will determine whether the side will be in action next weekend in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, but regardless of whether the side is or not, the club has a lot to be proud of, and a lot of positive performances to build on, as it enters its second season in the USL.
3. The intensity of the contests between the two South Texas rivals gave Saturday night’s game the feeling of a playoff game. With what was on the line, that was certainly understandable too, but with the Toros set to move into their new stadium next season, the intensity of the rivalry between the clubs should only increase. With two passionate fanbases, two outstanding venues, and two teams that look to play exciting, attacking soccer, this rivalry should be a very good one for years to come.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Memo Rodriguez, Rio Grande Valley FC – Rodriguez tallied a pair of assists to lead the Toros on their late charge, and give the side a chance at a top-two finish in the Western Conference.
Rio Grande Valley FC – Western Conference Quarterfinals, vs. No. 7 OKC Energy FC - Saturday, Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET – Toro Park
San Antonio FC – End of Season