It wasn’t pretty, but SAFC came away with a 1-0 win against its first meeting with RGVFC.
In another media-only pre-season friendly at Toyota Field, San Antonio FC and Rio Grande Valley Toros FC faced off for the first of at least 5 meetings in both clubs’ inaugural year. The two Texas clubs will meet again four times in the regular season and could add one more matchup in the playoffs. RGVFC is not eligible for the U.S. Open Cup because of their hybrid affiliation with MLS club Houston Dynamo.
Neither of the two clubs seemed to be clicking in the unexpected cold snap felt Saturday evening. Mental mistakes plagued both of the clubs throughout the match, but the SAFC defense managed to hang tough and put up another clean sheet.
The same couldn’t be said for RGV’s defense as they put up the only goal of the day, an own-goal on a wayward pass back to the keeper.
On the seemingly inevitable rivalry between the two clubs, Coach Powell had many positive things to say about RGV players and front office. After expressing his gratitude to them for making the trip, Powell said, “To create a good rivalry on and off the field I think is going to be very healthy. I think its healthy for soccer. You saw in today’s game, some of the tackles going on weren’t ‘pre-season’. Both teams wanted to win which is a great thing.”
It will remain to be seen how SAFC responds to future USL opponents. Coach Powell told the media after the game that “I think the speed of the play of the game was a lot quicker so it took us awhile to adjust. Hopefully we can learn from that today and get better.”
The fact that Powell and his staff have shuffled the starting XI for each match makes it hard to predict if this was just an off day for the team or if they will have trouble playing against their USL league-mates. Either way, the next opportunity to play a USL side will be in their first regular season match in Seattle.
My personal opinion is that SAFC has a very tough schedule for their first few games, but that the roster and coaching staff in place have a serious chance to make a big splash in their first year in the league.