Late goals lift RGV FC Toros to home win against first-place Real Monarchs SLC

EDINBURG — The RGV FC Toros scored two goals in a 7-minute span during the second half to knock off Real Monarchs SLC, which entered the match atop the Western Conference standings, 2-1 on Saturday at H-E-B Park.

SLC came into the night with a conference-best 53 points but suffered a third straight loss to fall to 17-9-2. RGV improves to 5-11-12, still tied for 14th in the West with 27 points.

The Monarchs scored first in the 26th minute and held that advantage until Aldo Quintanilla tallied for the Toros in the 71st. Off a Todd Wharton corner kick, Quintanilla found the ball on his foot at the edge of the 6-yard box and blasted it into the top of the net.

Then, in the 77th minute, Wharton converted a set piece all on his own, scoring on a free kick from about 35 yards to put RGV ahead. SLC keeper Jake Leeker seemed to think Wharton’s ball was destined to connect with one of the Toros players charging toward goal, but instead the shot went untouched, bouncing on the white line of the 6-yard box and into the right side of the net.

The goals were emblematic of a huge second-half turnaround for RGV FC, which put seven shots on target during the final 45 minutes after mustering zero in the first half. Though SLC maintained about 65 percent possession in each half, the Monarchs attempted just six shots in the second half compared to 11 in the first. RGV, meanwhile, launched 12 shots in the second half compared to six in the first. The Toros also earned seven corners in the second half compared to one in the first.

Quintanilla’s goal was his fifth of the season to tie Jesus Enriquez for the team lead, while Wharton has four.

Toros keeper Tyler Deric notched four saves to keep SLC limited to one goal. In the 25th minute, he made a sprawling save to his right to prevent the Monarchs from scoring on a free kick from about 30 yards. The only time he was beaten was on the ensuing corner kick, as SLC’s Konrad Plewa was left free for an uncontested header from inside the 6-yard box.

Deric was making his fourth appearance for RGV. The Houston Dynamo’s starting goalie most of last season, Deric was suspended by the MLS from Nov. 1, 2017, until his reinstatement on July 5 following his arrest and charge of misdemeanor assault in connection with an alleged domestic incident.

The Toros have just six matches remaining in the regular season. RGV travels to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Sept. 15 before returning home to host Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sept. 22.