EDINBURG — Rio Grande Valley FC has again modified its COVID-19 fan attendance policy, but stopped short of ruling out a potential return to the stands for local USL Championship soccer fans at some point during the 2020 regular season as South Texas continues to wrestle with problems presented by both Hurricane Hanna and the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Toros announced via a news release Monday that the club planned to ban all fans from its upcoming home match against FC Tulsa on Saturday, Aug. 1 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.
The club, however, declined to specify its COVID-19 attendance policy beyond the Aug. 1 date, noting that it will continue to monitor the public health situation locally and “remain in constant communication with local and state health officials in order to determine future viability to host fans at home matches.”
RGV FC previously said that it would limit H-E-B Park to at most 25% capacity if it were to open the stadium back up to fans at some point this season, even though state public health guidelines allow outdoor stadiums to open the stands up to 50% capacity.
The Toros’ next home game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff against Austin Bold FC on Saturday, Aug. 22.
“Residents of the Rio Grande Valley continue to brave through hardships like the Covid-19 Pandemic and now Hurricane Hanna. We are continuing to use an abundance of caution in all our activities with players, staff and the general public,” Rio Grande Valley FC President Ron Patel said in a written statement.
“We strive to provide the Valley with an escape, of sorts, in the comfort and safety everyones’ homes. This team belongs to the Valley as we are Four Counties, One Family, and we will fight hard on Saturday night against FC Tulsa to represent the Valley as best as we can.”
The match will be RGV FC’s third home match of the season and its second played without any fans in attendance. The Toros tied San Antonio FC 1-1 on Sunday, July 19, in its home re-opener after the USL suspended competition for four months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rio Grande Valley FC lost its season opener 5-1 to LA Galaxy II in Edinburg on Sunday, March 8, the only game the club played before its season was interrupted.
The Toros currently sit in fifth place in USL’s Group D regional pod with two points after a pair of draws and three losses through five matches so far this season with 11 regular season games remaining.
RGV FC trails San Antonio FC and OKC Energy FC by five and three points, respectively, for Group D’s two USL postseason berths.
Fans can watch the Toros upcoming game against FC Tulsa, which kicks off at 8 p.m. Saturday, on Somos El Valle 5.2 locally and ESPN+ nationally.