Birth of a rivalry? It’s entirely possible that is exactly what we’ll see Saturday at Toyota Field when fellow Texas club Rio Grande Valley FC comes to town.
RGV (2-2-1) and SAFC (2-2-2) play a total of four times this season with the possibility of being matched up in the playoffs as well. RGV is not competing in the U.S. Open Cup at the request of MLS owners Houston Dynamo.
While we could see anyone loaned down from a struggling Houston parent club, one known USL threat is midfielder Jose Escalante. He has a team leading 13 shots, but only 1 goal to show for them. With a club that likes to play possession soccer, Escalante could be dangerous if SAFC defense isn’t able to disrupt what RGV wants to do.
The two clubs played to a chippy 1-0 San Antonio win in a pre-season friendly, and I expect a similar passion as they take to the pitch for the first time in league play.
Greg Cochrane dribbles past an RGV defender in their pre-season friendly
Match Details: Game seven. Toyota Field. San Antonio, TX. Sat. 5/7/2016. Kickoff at 7:30pm Central
Keys for SAFC: Disrupt RGV possessions. The aggressive defending of Rafa Castillo, Seba Thuriere, and others on the SA squad will be vital. Forcing bad passes could be the difference.
Player To Watch: Greg Cochrane. The full back has split the left side with Bobby Moseley for most of the season, but last week’s victory against Tulsa saw him take to the right. If the two attacking, aggressive fullbacks line up on either side again this week, it could mean lots of chances created from both sides of the pitch.
Official SAFC Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ford (c); Cochrane, McCarthy, McBride, Moseley; Thuriere, Castillo; Alvarez, Araujo, Johnson; Chin
(A note about projected starting XI’s is that they are mandated by USL to be included in the team-provided media guides. While a projection is required, sticking to that projection is not. We could see some changes when the time comes.)
Pitch Black Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ford (c); Cochrane, McCarthy, McBride, Moseley; Thuriere, Castillo; Johnson, Alvarez, Araujo; Chin
Last we heard Garcia, Okiomah, Palacios and Reed were all banged up to varying degrees. I think the projected and actual lineups will look pretty similar, though I can’t see Alvarez playing anywhere but the 10 spot because he’s been so valuable there.
Score Prediction: San Antonio FC 2-0 Rio Grande Valley FC Toros I think this is the week Ford and company come away with their second clean sheet of the season. The defense isn’t happy with their “only give up 1 goal or less per game” trend, and they have a good opportunity to put up another clean sheet against RGV.