Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley FC defeated the reigning Liga MX Champions, Club Santos Laguna, 3-0 in a friendly exhibition played at H-E-B Park on Wednesday night as Pablo Aguilar, Jordan Jones, and Monday Etim all got on the score sheet for the Toros in the victory.
The visitors from Torreon had the first dangerous opportunity in the 12th minute when Jorge Gonzalez hit the crossbar, but Aguilar got things going for the Toros from a set piece nine minutes later to put the hosts ahead. Aguilar fired home a shot from 30 yards into the top-left corner of the goal to give the Toros the lead in the 21st minute.
The goal opened the game up for the Toros, and seven minutes later they doubled their advantage through Jones. Todd Wharton’s throw-in sent the forward in behind the Santos defense, and Jones was able to hold off the defenders and finish. The 22-year-old, who had been selected in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by Los Angeles FC before signing with the Toros, had a chance to bag his second goal of the night in the 35th minute, but his shot went wide of the left post.
Santos Laguna pushed numbers forward to try and get back into the game, but Rio Grande Valley held their own. In the 51st minute, Toros goalkeeper Matt Sanchez blocked Jonathan Rodriguez from pulling one back, while defender Roberto Castellanos blocked the rebound chance from Sanchez’s save. Three minutes later, Santos’ Julio Furch tried chipping a through-ball over Sanchez but his shot missed the target.
Santos continued to press and in the 58th minute Alan Magda’s diving header connected with a cross but the ball went over the crossbar, but six minutes later the Toros struck again as Manny Padilla’s cross found Etim, who buried the shot into the back of the net.
The visitors continued to battle to the end, and Furch was denied in stoppage time by Sanchez who kept out a floating header by the Argentine, but the Toros held on to claim the shutout and a remarkable victory in the club’s short history.