The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros will make their inaugural visit to Southwest University Park at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday as they visit El Paso Locomotive FC to kick off a two-game Western Conference road trip.
This is the first meeting between both teams and the first Copa Tejas match of 2019. The Copa Tejas is a collaboration between the supporters groups of RGV FC, San Antonio FC, Austin Bold FC, and El Paso that will award the winner of the head-to-head competition between the USL clubs the inaugural Copa Tejas.
The Toros are looking for their first victory of the season as they visit one of the newest clubs to join the USL Championship this season. RGV will have to do so without forwards Maalique Foster and recent signing Michael Salazar, who are away on national team duty this week. Foster and the Jamaican National Team will face Houston Dynamo midfielder Darwin Cerén and El Salvador in a key Concacaf Nations League match on Saturday. Salazar made his RGV debut last Saturday as a second-half substitution after signing with the team earlier in the week. The forward will join Belize for a Concacaf Nations League match against Guyana on Saturday, March 23.
The Toros will look to Panamanian international Carlos Small, who scored five goals in 15 appearances for RGV last season, to snap a two-game scoreless streak. Isidrio Martinez will also play a key role in the midfield as the Brownsville native anchors the middle of the park along with Andy Cabrera and Brad Dunwell. RGV will also have four defensive reinforcements from the Dynamo, as goalkeeper Tyler Deric and defenders Chris Duvall, Alejandro Fuenmayor and Sam Junqua were loaned out for the weekend.
RGV face an El Paso side that has earned one point from their first two games. The Locomotives opened the year with a 3-1 loss at home to OKC Energy FC and held Real Monarchs SLC to a scoreless draw at Zions Bank Stadium last Saturday. El Paso will be without defender Mechack Jérôme who will join Haiti for a Concacaf Nations League match against Cuba in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Coach Mark Lowry will look to Sebastian Contreras, Derek Gebhard and Richie Ryan to spark an offense that has not scored a goal since the first half of the season opener.
The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ and RGV return to H-E-B Park at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 to host New Mexico United. Tickets for the match are on sale now and available at RGVFC.com/Tickets.