The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros start a new rivalry Saturday as they visit San Antonio FC for the first regular-season meeting between the two expansion clubs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CDT at Toyota Stadium and a live stream is available above and here.
RGV FC head coach Wilmer Cabrera gave a mixed appraisal of the club’s home opener, a 2-0 loss to LA Galaxy II on Saturday. The Colombian was grateful for the home support but introspective regarding his team’s performance.
“The opener was fantastic because the fans in the valley came in in big numbers,” Cabrera said. “We are in debt to the fans because our performance wasn’t good enough and it is my responsibility because we didn’t display the style of play that we are capable of. If someone has to be blamed for it, it is me. We have talked about what happened – we made a lot of mistakes – and the players are conscious of it and we are going to try to avoid another performance like that.”
San Antonio FC is owned and operated by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and serves as RGV FC’s lone Texas rival within the USL. The league’s schedule maker did all they could to add juice to the fledgling rivalry, with Saturday’s encounter the first of three meetings in a six-game span before June 4.
The newly formed Texas adversaries met once in a closed-door preseason friendly on March 26 at Toyota Stadium in San Antonio. An RGV FC own goal delivered SAFC a 1-0 win.
Six weeks later, the clubs are tied in the Western Conference standings with six points each (RGV FC has played one less game) and set for the first of four total meetings this season, with the Toros hosting SAFC on the final day of the season.
“It is going to either be fun or painful,” Cabrera said. “It all depends on the level of the competition and the results. We have to come back to our normal routine and level of confidence. We are not afraid to play away. We respect them, we know they are good, we know it is a rivalry and we are confident that we can go there and go for the three points.”
Former Dynamo forward Jason Johnson leads SAFC with three goals in six appearances this season. Under the direction of head coach Darren Powell, the clubs features several players with ties to San Antonio and Austin, including five players from the now defunct San Antonio Scorpions and Austin Aztex.
“They’re very aggressive and the players are very organized by their coach Darren Powell. They have a good team shape and they put pressure on opponents, especially at home.”
“Collectively, I can say that right now I see a team that is working and focused. Everyone is excited to perform and forget what happened against the Galaxy.”
*Note: The Dynamo and RGV FC have a hybrid affiliation, with the Dynamo in control of all technical aspects of the soccer operation, including the construction of the roster and the coaching staff. Meanwhile, the McAllen, Texas based Rio Grande Valley Vipers run the business operations, including the current construction of a 9,400 seat soccer stadium that will resemble Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.