EDINBURG — RGV FC Toros defender Kai Greene called it an innocent ball that turned dangerous.
With the Toros holding a one-goal advantage in the 87th minute, LA Galaxy II defender Jean Engola played a long ball forward into RGV’s half. Toros keeper Nico Corti charged forward but reached the ball just a fraction of a second after LA’s Frank Lopez made his first touch near the top of the penalty box. After chasing down the ball near the right edge of the box and only about 6 yards away from the byline, Lopez tucked a high shot just inside the far post, leveling the match.
The equalizer was the final tally as RGV and LA played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday at H-E-B Park, marking the Toros’ fifth consecutive draw and the fifth time in 11 matches this season that RGV has let a second-half lead slip away.
“We just have to keep going,” Greene said. “Of course it’s upsetting at home that we’re dropping points. But at the same time, it’s still little mental lapses that are costing us two points more each game. It’s important that we stay together and we don’t divide at these times. We’re not losing, but a tie at home still feels like a loss at the end of the day.”
RGV FC moves to 1-3-7 overall, including a mark of 1-0-6 at home. The Toros have gone six straight matches without a loss, but the past five have been draws.
With 10 points on the season, RGV ranks 13th in the Western Conference standings.
“Just an inability to put games away,” RGV FC coach Gerson Echeverry said. “It’s a broken record, but it is.”
As has been the case after most of the team’s recent matches, Echeverry said he felt RGV FC outplayed LA on Wednesday.
The Toros held minor edges in possession (50.9 percent), total shots (12-9) and shots on target (2-1).
“We just have to keep going back to the drawing board. Our time will come. I’m confident in that,” Greene said. “We just have to believe and dig deep. We’re conceding a lot of late goals. It’s a mental thing more than anything. Individually, we have the capabilities to close out any team and beat any team.”
Greene said he felt the Toros “dominated” defensively against a Galaxy side that had scored 12 goals in its past three matches.
LA’s lone shot on target proved to be enough to equalize. Echeverry said he would have to review video of the play to determine the precise breakdown, but he speculated that either Engola should have been challenged higher up the field, the central defenders should have cut out the pass, or Corti should have been less aggressive in his charge.
“You have to put teams like that away,” Echeverry said. “You can’t give them any kind of chance, and unfortunately, toward the end, they showed their class and punished us.”
The goal answered RGV FC’s initial tally, off the foot of Aldo Quintanilla in the 14th minute. About 25 yards from goal in the middle of the pitch, Quintanilla played an awkward shot that LA’s keeper was unable to handle on a short hop.
The goal was Quintanilla’s team-leading fourth of the season and snapped a streak of 285 minutes without a goal for either side at H-E-B Park, which had hosted three consecutive scoreless draws entering Wednesday. Still, Quintanilla’s strike was not enough to snap the skid of lackluster outcomes.
“I don’t think it’s frustrating, but it is disappointing,” Quintanilla said in Spanish. “We have been working hard and for one reason or another, we don’t get the results. It brings you down, but it is part of the game.”
Entering a long break before the team’s next match on June 4, Echeverry said he was “not going to hit the panic button.” The time off will give RGV’s young players a chance to recharge, Echeverry said.
Greene said the layoff will be a time for reflection.
“We have to look ourselves in the mirror and really dig deep into why these mental lapses keep happening at these crucial moments,” Greene said. “These ties are unacceptable.”