San Antonio FC and Rio Grande Valley FC will contest the first South Texas Derby of the 2018 United Soccer League season on Saturday night at H-E-B Park.
While SAFC is riding their first pair of consecutive wins coming into the match, RGVFC hasn’t even won two matches total this season. Both clubs come into the contest undefeated in three matches though, and RGVFC’s lone win came at home on April 25 against Orange County SC, who beat SAFC just 11 days before in San Antonio.
Spicing up the rivalry this season is the fact two ex-RGVFC players are now plying their trade for SAFC: midfielder Jose Escalante and forward Kyle Murphy, whose signing SAFC announced Thursday. While manpower shifted north to SAFC, the home side is hoping experience training with the two will give them the edge.
“We know (Escalante) as a player and at the same time we respect him as a player,” RGVFC defender Kai Greene said in a USL article. “We would like to use that, we know his style of play. Hopefully he is on the field so we can exploit that.”
Escalante appears to have moved on from his former team and is enthusiastic about taking part in the derby for the other side, providing one of the most impassioned SAFC quotes yet in their short history.
SAFC’s attack has come alive as of late, notching five goals in their last two matches compared to just four in their previous six outings, and their success is largely thanks to quick counterattacking rather than patiently trying to break teams down. That said, RGVFC has managed their only two clean sheets of the season within their last three matches, so SAFC may find it difficult to break through.
On the other end of the pitch, RGVFC has only been held scoreless in one match while SAFC has also only kept two clean sheets. The recent uptick in form from goalkeeper Diego Restrepo will boost SAFC and all three of their wins in 2018 included conceding a goal, but they know their chances are better when they blank their opponents.
While SAFC won two of three South Texas Derbies in 2017, those are their only two wins of the series so far, otherwise losing four and drawing once. However, the lone meeting between the clubs to take place at H-E-B Park was a 1-0 win for SAFC on March 26, 2017, in both clubs’ USL season opener and the first competitive match at the stadium.
Rio Grande Valley FC
Record: 1-3-4 | Form: LLWDD | Previous match: 2-2 at Fresno FC
San Antonio FC
Record: 3-2-3 | Form: DLDWW | Previous match: 2-1 vs Fresno FC
Two Ten Soccer Projected Starting XI
Jonathan Check: RGVFC 1-2 SAFC
Jesus Miguel Garcia: RGVFC 0-2 SAFC
Jose Mario Jimenez: RGVFC 0-2 SAFC
Larry Leathers: RGVFC 0-3 SAFC
Kyle Mahnke: RGVFC 1-2 SAFC
How to watch: ESPN+ (online, subscription required), 7:30pm central
Follow along on Twitter: #RGVvSA @TwoTenSoccer @checkjfooty @LarryLeathers87 @Kyle_Mahnke