Two of the latest Dynamo additions gained fitness and game experience during loan assignments over the weekend as the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros kept their fifth consecutive shutout in a 0-0 draw with OKC Energy FC Saturday night at the Toros practice facility.
Colombian midfielder Yair Arboleda made his Toros debut, entering at halftime for the final 45 minutes and tallying two shots, with one on target. Arboleda joined the Dynamo on loan from Independiente Santa Fe on July 29 but could not join the first team for its road game at Montreal on Saturday due to Canadian Visa requirements. Arboleda, 20, is eligible for selection for interim head coach Wade Barrett on Saturday as the Dynamo host Toronto FC.
Meanwhile, a familiar face returned to the Rio Grande Valley as José Escalante played 90 minutes for the Toros three days after signing with the Dynamo on loan for the remainder of the season on loan from RGV FC. Escalante, 21, registered four shots in his 15th appearance of the season for RGV FC, for whom he’s tallied three goals and two assists this season. Escalante, the captain of Honduras at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, is the first player to move from RGV FC, the Dynamo’s hybrid USL affiliate, to the Dynamo on a full MLS contract.
Like the Dynamo, RGV FC has played low-scoring games of late, with Saturday’s result the fourth scoreless draw in five games. RGV FC’s best chances included captain Kevin Garcia striking the crossbar with a late header, and forward Dzenan Catic forcing a desperate save from OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi.
RGV FC goalkeeper Callum Irving made four saves—including an important stop against Michael Byskov before halftime—to record his fourth straight shutout and fifth overall in nine starts in his first professional season.
The Toros last conceded a goal on June 26 in a 2-1 loss to Orange County Blues FC. RGV FC (7-5-9; 30 points) remain in sixth place in the Western Conference of the USL. The Toros are in place to gain one of eight playoff berths in the West with nine games remaining, but must stay above the Swope Park Rangers (seven place, 29 points), OC Blues (tied-eighth place, 28 points) and Saint Louis FC (tied-eighth place, 28 points), along with other pursuers.
Next up, the Toros cap a five-game homestand against Seattle Sounders FC 2 at 7:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday at the Toros practice facility. The match will be streamed live here.
Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (7-5-9; 30 points) vs. OKC Energy FC (8-3-9; 33 points)
August 6, 2016 – Toros Stadium, Edinburg, Texas
Rio Grande Valley FC: Callum Irving; Taylor Hunter, Kevin Garcia ©, Ivan Magalhaes, George Malki; Jorginho James (Ruben Luna 85), Charlie Ward; Memo Rodriguez (Dzenan Catic 64), Eric Bird (Emilio Garcia 70), Jose Escalante*; TJ Casner (Yair Arboleda 46*)
*On loan from Houston Dynamo
*Summary of Dynamo Academy alumni involvement in Saturday’s 0-0 draw:
Memo Rodriguez played the first 64 minutes. The 20-year-old has six goals (team-high) and two assists in 21 appearances this season (1,448 total minutes).
*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.