The Houston Dynamo welcomed their new USL hybrid affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, to the Dynamo training facility at Houston Sports Park Tuesday morning for the first-ever scrimmage between the partner clubs. Wilmer Cabrera’s new squad proved a worthy adversary as the Dynamo beat the Toros, 2-1, behind goals from Rob Lovejoy and Erick Torres while Dzenan Catic provided a goal for RGV FC.
The Toros, 11 days from their inaugural match in USL on March 26 against the Tulsa Roughnecks, continue their preseason on Saturday with a road test against another USL newcomer and probable rival, San Antonio FC at Toyota Field.
Houston opened with a starting lineup of goalkeeper Calle Brown; a back four of Sheanon Williams, Sebastien Ibeagha, Agus Garcia and Bradley Bourgeois; Lovejoy, David Rocha, Zach Steinberger and Abdoulie Mansally across the midfield; and Mauro Manotas and Torres up front.
Lovejoy showed no continued effects of a hamstring injury suffered in preseason, collecting a through ball from Rocha and blasting into the upper corner from 16 yards for a 1-0 Dynamo lead in the 37th minute.
RGV FC answered six minutes later as Catic collected a poor back pass from the Dynamo and slotted past Brown for the tying goal.
The Dynamo threatened twice midway through the second half, with Rocha crossing for Manotas, who forced a save from the RGV goalkeeper. Soon after, Manotas set up Torres, who was denied by a double block from a pair of Toros defenders.
Torres broke through three minutes later, collecting a Mansally cross and finishing confidently near the upper corner from 15 yards for the winning goal.
Houston threatened to extend the lead, with Lovejoy coming close at the near post but the RGV FC goalkeeper made another fine save. Later, Sheanon Williams delivered a precise cross and Manotas headed wide.
The Dynamo and RGV FC formed a hybrid affiliation last July. As part of the partnership, the Dynamo control all technical aspects of the club, including the selection and formation of the coaching staff as well as the construction of the roster.
RGV FC, which operates the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, will manage business operations for the club, including the current construction of a 9,400-seat state-of-the-art soccer stadium in Edinburg, Texas, 330 miles southwest of Houston, across the Mexican border from Reynosa.