Match Day 26 will see San Antonio FC hit the road for the second of three meetings with their biggest USL rivals, RGV Toros FC. We once again turned to Carson Merk (@CarsonAMerk) of Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) to get the low down on what’s up in the valley as we get ready for another edition of the Texas Derby
- 1 – (RB90) It has been a long while since these two teams got together. Catch us up on RGV’s season since the Draw at HEB Park in May – what sticks out to you?
(CM) Overall, It’s been a frustrating season for RGV. Obviously, with only two wins, it has not been the season they’ve hoped for. There has been plenty of matches where they played well enough to win but had to settle for a draw or loss.
- 2– The biggest struggle for RGV is clearly on offense. Only 24 goals in 25 matches – barely 1 goal per game. Why has this team struggled so much offensively and how can they improve?
It sounds so simple, but it really is just a matter of putting the ball in the back of the net. They have talent and create chances, but they are lacking that finishing touch. Adding Carlos Small to the mix will surely help going forward.
- 3 – Last time the match featured Escalante and Murphy, two former RGV players. Since then San Antonio has signed yet another former RGV player in Charlie Ward, and he’s arguably playing the best out of all three of them. Are you surprised that so many former RGV players have ended up in San Antonio and does it make for a stronger rivalry from RGV’s perspective?
I’m not too surprised by it. San Antonio is a great organization that has welcomed players from a lot of teams around the USL. For specifically former RGV players, It allows them to stay in the state and compete with a quality team. It definitely adds to the rivalry when you have players facing their former team. In regards to Charlie, I’ve thought he was too good for the USL since his first season in 2016. As a friend, I’m happy for him to be in a place where he is getting consistent playing time and the respect he deserves. That goes for Jose and Murph as well.
- 4 – Aldo Quintanilla is the lead man for this team so far this season. He leads the team in both goals and assists, albeit not with gaudy numbers in either category. What has made him so successful and can he improve?
They actually found Aldo during an open tryout! He is a talented player and surprised me with how good his vision is. I think adding Small as the primary striker will force Aldo to compete for every day in training for a start or a chance off the bench. Competition is good for everyone.
- 5 – Say what people want about HEB Park and their attendance, but the team plays well there. All three of their wins, eight draws and more importantly, only two losses on the season. What makes them so much more comfortable at home and is it an advantage against such a familiar foe like San Antonio FC?
With their possession-based approach, that spacious pitch allows them to take advantage of their passing ability. Playing against a rival, there won’t be many surprises. But, it’s always nice to play at home in an important match.
- 6 – What’s your prediction for the match?
I think this one will be decided by one goal. Unfortunately for Toros’ supporters, I think it will be 1-0 for San Antonio
Current Form (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC – W L L L L, 2018 Road Record 2-4-6
RGV FC – L L L D W, 2018 Home Record 3-8-2
San Antonio FC: 34 points, 29 GF, 35 GA, -6 GD, 10th in USL West
RGV FC: 24 points, 24 GF, 29 GA, -5 GD, 15th in USL West
All-Time History (W-D-L)
Saturday will mark the ninth meeting between these teams, and as you might expect with such a close regional rival, this is the most common opponent for SAFC in their history. It has been a tale of two seasons. RGV won three matches in 2016, SAFC won two last year. All-time, RGV still has the edge, taking fourteen points against San Antonio’s eight. SAFC is 2-2-4 against their in-state rivals.
5/12/18 @ RGV – Draw 0-0
8/29/18 @ RGV
10/13/18 @ SA
Jose Escalante started for San Antonio, playing against his former team for the first time, but neither side could find any breakthroughs as the game ended 0-0. Recent SAFC signee at the time (and also former RGV man) Kyle Murphy did not start the match but appeared as a sub in the 85th minute. San Antonio was out-possessed 56% to 44% and out-shot 13-7. San Antonio had 29 clearances in the match – nearly three times as many as RGV. But no goals were tallied. Here are the highlights.
The Matchup (W-D-L)
San Antonio FC (9-7-9) at RGV FC (4-12-9) #RGVvSA
HEB Park, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Kickoff 7:00 pm Central Time
Where to Watch: ESPN+
Key to victory
The further removed we are from SAFC’s four-game win streak, the more of an anomaly it becomes. The team that has now lost four in a row (and counting) seems more like who 2018 SAFC really is. It has been a bumpy season right from the start, and despite that one winning stretch where it looked like they had finally turned the corner, this team has been mighty mediocre over the course of the season when you step back and view the entire body of work. Even with the four-game win streak, this team is now 9 up, 9 down, and 7 draws. If they’re consistently anything, it’s consistently average.
During this current losing streak, they have been outscored 11-4. On Saturday night against Swope, their only goal came from King in a 2-1 loss. It was his second goal in 5 matches, but defender goals are better when they’re a luxury, not your main source of offense. Third verse, same as the first. This team lacks consistent offensive firepower. They did look better in the second half and ended up out-shooting Swope by a wide margin (21-10) but it was too little too late for a team that surrendered two first-half goals.
San Antonio continues to struggle against Swope, as a whole. No wins in four matches at Toyota Field. Only one win in eight matches overall. And Swope has now matched RGV for the most wins against SAFC all-time with four.
Which brings us to Wednesday’s opponent.
When SAFC meets RGV this Wednesday night it will mark the ninth meeting between the two Texas rivals. No one has faced San Antonio more times. It has been a tale of two seasons between these two teams. In 2016 it was all RGV. They won three out of the four meetings and drew the other. In 2017 it was a complete reversal with SAFC winning two out of three. In 2018, it looks like two teams going nowhere.
This will be the first time these two teams have met without one of them being high in the standings. Both are out of playoff position. Both currently live in the bottom half of the Western Table. Both struggle to score goals. Both have a negative goal differential. Both teams have only won once in their last five. That sound you hear is the air of excitement leaking out of the Texas Derby balloon.
Even the recent player transaction history that ties these two teams together – Escalante, Ward, and Murphy are all former RGV players who now wear the silver and black – seems a bit hollow. Escalante has started once in the last nine matches. Ward looked to be heating up with a goal and assist over two straight appearances, but it has been five straight games and counting without either, including two games where he didn’t feature in the 18. And it has been just one goal in 12 appearances for Murphy. This group hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire.
Things are not going to get any easier for SAFC. Real Monarchs, Phoenix, and another match with Swope are all coming up soon. They would be very well served to take all 6 points that remain in their two matches against RGV. That starts on Wednesday night.
Neither team is impressing us much, these days. This feels like a 0-0 draw.
San Antonio FC – 0
RGV FC – 0
SAFC “Did You Know?”
There have only been two draws in this series out eight matches. One on 5/25/16 at Toyota Field, and one this past May at HEB Park. Both times, the games finished 0-0.