Images: Steve Aibel, Pitch Black News / Little Orca Sports
What I want my preview to say: “Screw RGV and that last second goal. Lets go get three.”
Rafa wearing the captain armband in Ford’s absence last time RGV and SAFC met
If I’m being slightly more constructive, the club SAFC will face on Wednesday will look a little different than the one that left Toyota Field with a late 3-2 victory last time they met. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (4-2-2) will likely be without Rob Lovejoy who put two away against San Antonio FC (2-4-3) as he participated in Houston Dynamo’s charity match Tuesday night where he played the entire second half. Mario Manotas, who also scored against SAFC in the last meeting, was in the starting XI for that charity event and isn’t likely to play either.
Another big change is that SAFC captain Josh Ford will likely be back in goal. He missed the match against RGV will an illness leaving San Antonio native Matt Cardone to handle the pseudo-MLS squad.
That being said, this is an SAFC roster with talent at each position that just can’t seem to catch a break lately. Missed opportunities, questionable officiating, and injury / illness have taken their toll on the club’s record just shy of a third of the way into the season. There are still many games left to play and plenty of time to ascend towards the top of the table, but winning at home has to be part of that equation.
Matt Cardone makes a save against RGV at Toyota Field
Match Details: Game ten. Toyota Field. San Antonio, TX Wed. 5/25/2016. Kickoff at 7:30pm Central
Keys for SAFC: Finish. Its been a problem all year. SAFC has many playmakers but for whatever reason hasn’t been able to convert the chances created into goals consistently. The club does still have a positive goal differential, but that’s thanks in part to big wins against S2 and Tulsa. Finish against this RGV team that will likely be missing key pieces. Right the ship.
Player To Watch: Greg Cochrane had a fantastic night against RGV last time the clubs met tallying an assist and helping on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately it was capped off by an errant pass that led to the winning RGV goal. Cochrane is a passionate player and I have a feeling he is going to want to come away with not only a win, but an authoritative victory.
Pitch Black Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ford (c); Cochrane, McCarthy, McBride, Moseley; Reed, Castillo; Johnson, Alvarez, Araujo; Chin
With Seba Thuriere and Manolo Sanchez away on international duty and Fejiro Okiomah presumably not at 100%, if not still injured, the midfield is a bit thinner than normal. Miguel Salazar has proven to be a solid replacement at holding midfield in his rookie season, but now with game time under his belt I expect to see the veteran Michael Reed get back into the Starting XI coming off an injury.
Score Prediction: San Antonio FC 3-1 RGV FC Toros Facing a team without some of their key components after having just lost at home 4 days earlier, I can’t imagine SAFC is going to let these points slip through their fingers. It won’t be enough to propel them to the top of the table at this point, but its a great time to start righting the ship.