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Casner's Strike Leaves Toros, WFC2 Level

By Staff, 08/19/17, 11:01PM EDT


RGVFC extends unbeaten streak to four in 1-1 draw

Photo courtesy C. Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC

EDINBURG, Texas – Despite finishing with a double-digit advantage in shot attempts, TJ Casner and Rio Grande Valley FC were forced to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Saturday at H-E-B Park. WFC2 moved ahead in the 23rd minute when Gloire Amanda dragged his service through traffic in the RGVFC area and into the path of a hard-charging Deklan Wynne who found the mark for the second time this season. The advantage held until the 70th minute when a ball to the back post off the foot of Eric Bird was laid back by Justin Bilyeu, allowing Casner to step into his strike and beat Vancouver keeper Sean Melvin. Bird nearly delivered a winner himself in the 88th minute, but his close-range effort was stopped by Melvin and the try off the rebound from Francisco Pungo missed the target. Splitting honors on Saturday leaves Rio Grande Valley at 7-10-6 overall (27pts) and 4-4-4 at home while Vancouver sits at 4-12-7 overall (19pts) and 2-8-3 on the road.  

23’ – VAN – Deklan Wynne (Gloire Amanda)
70’ – RGV – TJ Casner (Justin Bilyeu)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. The draw was the second between the two sides inside a span of three weeks after a meeting at Thunderbird Stadium finished level at 3-3 on August 2. The result also represents the third draw during a current four match unbeaten streak for RGVFC, mitigating the recent run’s impact on the Toros’ playoff aspirations. Nonetheless, the side had the better of play throughout the contest – finishing with a 15-4 edge in shot attempts - and managed to pick up another point. With seven of its final nine outings slated to come against teams which it currently trails in the standings, Rio Grande Valley remains in firm control of its own destiny.

  • 2. Playing the third of four straight matches scheduled away from home, Vancouver snapped a six-match winless streak on the road and picked up its first win in a visiting role since a 1-0 victory over Portland Timbers 2 on June 4. Recent away outings had seen particularly tough sledding for the WFC2 attack as Wynne’s strike broke a 340-minute scoreless streak for Vancouver on the road that dated back to Thomas Sanner’s 43rd minute tally in a 2-2 draw against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on July 8. The goal from Sanner against the Switchbacks was the second of two unanswered for the Whitecaps in the first half of the clash in Colorado Springs and with Saturday’s result, Vancouver moved to 2-2-2 when opening the scoring as the visitors this season as opposed to a 0-6-1 mark when allowing the hosts to strike first.
  • 3. Conversely, while Casner’s effort rescued a point and extended the unbeaten run for the Toros, the draw marked the fifth consecutive home match in which the squad have failed to come away with three points (0-2-3) - a stretch that began with a 1-0 loss to LA Galaxy II on June 17. Forced to come from behind despite a decided advantage in attempts on goal, Saturday’s effort was reflective of an inability to fully capitalize on its opportunities at home has left RGVFC on the wrong side of the line in a crowded Western Conference playoff race. The struggles come just one season after the side finished ranked second in the West in goals scored (26), goals allowed (nine), and clean sheets (eight) at home en route to a second-place finish in the club’s inaugural campaign. With three of its final four home games coming against teams currently among the top five in the West, Casner and company will need to find the finishing touch that will aid their postseason push. Man of the Match

TJ Casner, Rio Grande Valley FC – Casner’s equalizing goal was a vital one for an RGVFC side in need of points, and the Clemson product added four key passes while completing 37 of his 42 passes overall

Upcoming Games:
Rio Grande Valley FC at Real Monarchs SLC – Aug. 25, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at San Antonio FC – Aug. 23, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Stadium

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