EDINBURG – Despite dominating both the time of possession and offensive numbers, the RGV FC Toros ended a hard-fought, physical match in a scoreless draw against the Tacoma Defiance on Saturday evening at H-E-B Park.
The game out off to a slow start with neither team staking a definitive advantage, with just three shots combined between the two sides in the first 20 minutes of action. However, the Toros began to dictate the tempo in the latter part of the first half, reeling off six out of seven total shots in the final 25 minutes of the half.
Defenseman Kyle Adams had a pair of quality looks in the early going – perhaps the two best opportunities of the first half. In the 22nd minute, Adams hooked a shot left from the top of the box and nine minutes later he narrowly missed a header close to the goal wide left as well.
“I just saw that we did have some nice possessions going on, a couple of decent moments in the middle third,” RGV FC coach Gerson Echeverry said regarding his team’s offensive performance. “We just lacked that final creativity, that final pass. Sometimes we were rushing sometimes we just weren’t moving fast enough. Our timing was not good in the final third.”
The second half definitely brought more fireworks when the two teams returned to the field.
The Toros dominated the time of possession throughout the second half of the contest, with the ball rarely crossing into their defensive zone. The team would reel off 12 shots before the final whistle sounded, but only two would necessitate saves as many sailed off target.
On the flip side, Tacoma at times looked like a team that was uninterested in even trying to score. The Defiance failed to put a single shot on net in the entirety of the contest, and in the second half they collected nearly as many yellow cards (four) as total shots (five).
Some of that can be attributed to the Toros’ smothering defense, which stifled any and all scoring opportunities for the Defiance before they really got going.
“We did a lot of tactical work leading up to the game and we knew what (Tacoma) wanted to do, how they wanted to build. We worked on our press and when we lost the ball, I think we counter-pressed well and were able to win it back quick,” said Toros defenseman Eric Bird, who made his return to game action Saturday after an extended absence due to a lingering groin injury. “I don’t think they had a good chance throughout the entire game.”
Bird tallied three shots and two scoring chances created in a solid return to the RGV FC starting lineup. But it was his fellow defenseman Adams who really shined for the Toros.
He led the squad with five total shots and some extremely accurate passing to boot (90 percent). Adams also had the best opportunity of the night to break the scoreless tie in stoppage time.
“Camilo (Monroy) did well to get down the left and behind them. I kind of held my run because I knew the drop in to inside the six,” Adams said. “It fell to me and I tried to take a touch and get it on my stronger left foot, but looking back at it I probably should have shot it the first time – either foot, I don’t really think it would have mattered – but the guy was there to smother me. You’ve got to take those chances.”
Despite the final result, the RGV FC defense showed vast signs of improvement after conceding four goals in a shutout loss at Reno 1868 FC on Wednesday. But the team has failed to net a goal in its past three contests, with the Toros’ last score coming in a 3-0 home win over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on June 15.
Saturday’s draw marked the first of three straight home games for the Toros, who will be looking to add more than one point to the standings in their next outing. For Echeverry, though, the fix to his team’s recent struggles is simple, but may be easier said than done.
“Score,” Echeverry said when asked what his squad needs to do better. “We haven’t been able to score. We’ve lost some key offensive pieces … other guys are getting opportunities, and I’m not saying they’re playing poorly, but we’ve got to get some goals.”
The Tacoma Defiance will play again when they hit the road to face the Real Monarchs SLC on Friday, July 12 in Herriman, Utah. The Toros return to the pitch to face the first place Phoenix Rising FC in game two of their three-game homestand Saturday, July 13 at H-E-B Park.