The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros kick off their second USL season this Sunday, March 26 at 6 p.m. CT against rivals San Antonio FC in the South Texas Derby. It will be the first official match for RGV FC in the brand new H-E-B Park after an exhibition loss to C.F. Monterrey on Wednesday.
After now-Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera led the Toros a 2nd place finish in the Western Conference in their inaugural season, the reigns have been turned over to Junior Gonzalez, previously of Seattle Sounders 2. His goals for the season are unchanged from what the team put forth last year.
"We are a team that is going to compete collectively and we want to make sure that we can put ourselves in a position to win every match to compete for the USL championship,” Gonzalez said following Wednesday’s match.
RGV returns 14 players from last year’s squad on its initial roster, including Dynamo Academy product Christian Lucatero on a season-long loan from the Dynamo first team. Lucatero is looking to gain regular playing time in 2017 after recording 271 minutes across 18 games in his rookie season. Joining him on loan in the Valley for Sunday’s match are midfielder José Escalante, defenders Taylor Hunter and Kevin Garcia, and goalkeeper Calle Brown. Escalante, Hunter and Garcia spent 2016 with RGV before signing first team contracts.
RGV FC swept the 2016 South Texas Derby series with a 3-0-1 record against San Antonio FC. San Antonio added Houston Baptist University product Kris Tyrpak from 2016 USL Western Conference champions Swope Park Rangers, and former Dynamo defender Sebastian Ibeagha to their ranks ahead of 2017, as well as 2016 leading goalscorer Rafa Castillo.