With goals from Wilmer Cabrera Jr. and Carlos Small, the Toros extend their unbeaten streak to 5
Portland, OR – RGVFC made a statement tonight to the rest of the USL, do not sleep on the men from the Rio Grande Valley. Gerson Echeverry‘s team stepped foot on Merlo Field and took away the three points from 1st placed Portland Timbers 2.
However, coming into the match, the Toros would have to play without their veteran striker Conor Donovan as he had received a red card after the final whistle against LA Galaxy II. The big question the fans asked, who would replace Donovan who can lead this team against such a difficult opponent?
That man would be none other than Kevin Garcia. Garcia, who was a part of the inaugural RGVFC squad, was loaned, along with Tyler Deric, to the Toros squad to help provide leadership and experience to a very young back line.
The Toros kicked off the match energetically, looking to pressure Timbers 2 in the midfield.
RGVFC found an early goal in the 8th minute scored by Wilmer Cabrera Jr. Isidro Martinez executes a free kick into the box that is touched by Kevin Garcia and lands at the feet of Cabrera as he was landing from his jump. Taking advantage of the bounce, the columbian takes a shot just inside the 6 yard box, impossible for Jake Leeker to react to.
After the goal, Portland Timbers 2 began to dominate possession as the Toros began to step back to defend and look for a counter attack with Maalique Foster.
In stoppage time, the Toros had a clear chance on goal in one of these counter attacking opportunities, but Marco Farfan pulled Maalique Foster‘s shirt, denying the Jamaican a clear goal scoring opportunity.
The referee, however, decided that such clear chance was nonexistent and showed Farfan a yellow card.
In the second half, Portland Timbers 2 continued to push up on an organized Toros defense looking for the equalizer, while the Toros continued to rely on the counter looking to extend the lead.
In the 55th minute, Michael Salazar had a great opportunity to score the second goal after a great cross by Maalique Foster, but his shot sailed way too high off of Jake Leeker‘s goal.
In the 61st minute, Marco Farfan sends a cross into the box that goes over Dairon Aspirilla and the Toros defenders, but the ball is received by an unmarked Eryk Williamson. Williamson takes a powerful shot, but Tyler Dericmakes a huge save that denies Portland the equalizer.
Portland finally finds the equalizer in the 71st minute. After a foul committed by Jesus Enriquez out on the sideline, the Timbers execute a free kick that gets to Modou Jadama and his shot finds the back of the net.
RGVFC looked surprised the minutes following the goal, but as the second half went by, their confidence in the attack returned, allowing them to avoid Portland’s high pressure more effectively.
The Toros found an opportunity to go ahead with Maalique Foster in the 79th minute, but some good reactions by Jake Leeker denied him his goal for the night.
RGVFC finally found the game winning goal in the 85th minute of the game. Isidro Martinez sends a cross into the box that is partially cleared by the Timbers defense, but the ball lands near Jesus Enriquez, who dribbles the ball towards the right side of the box.
Enriquez then takes a shot on goal which goes past Jake Leeker, but Max Ornstil saves it on the line. To his misfortune, Carlos Small was located near him and taps the ball into the net, giving the Toros the lead.
In the end, besides their best efforts in the dying minutes of the match, the Portland Timbers 2 could not break apart the Toros defense and the game ended 2-1. With this win, the Toros extend their unbeaten streak to five games and are currently in 4th place in the Western Conference.
After the match, Jesus Enriquez expressed praise for the positive mentality of the team during the match.
We came here with a positive mentality and we came here confident knowing that we could beat these guys. The guys put everything out there… on the field and we were fortunate to get the three points against the first placed team.Jesus Enriquez – RGVFC midfielder
However, Enriquez also emphasized the importance of maintaining their focus after achieving such a result.
We can’t get big headed. We have to keep going and we have to keep working hard. The goal is the playoffs and that’s what we’re striving for. It’s a long season so we have to just keep going.Jesus Enriquez – RGVFC midfielder
The Toros travel on the road again next Friday to play Phoenix Rising before returning back to H-E-B Park to host LA Galaxy II on May 18th.
Edson Ochoa is the host of the Down in the Valley podcast. You can watch the show live every Wednesday at 7pm at youtube.com/downinthevalley.