All-time regular season series: 0-0-1, RGV leads
Last match: 2-3 loss at home to RGV
San Antonio FC (2-3-4, 9pts) will face the Rio Grande Valley Toros (4-2-2, 14pts) for the second edition of the South Texas Derby at Toyota Field this evening. The first edition was an exciting match that saw SAFC come back from a 0-2 deficit to tie the match, only to see the Toros leave with all three points with the game-winner scored late in stoppage time.
San Antonio is coming off a close, 1-0 loss at home to the OKC Energy while the Toros are entering this match after a convincing 4-1 home win over the Swope Park Rangers. Both will be looking to take a win against their rival, and as this is the final match between the two in San Antonio, SAFC will be looking to send the Toros home with a loss.
San Antonio's recent form has been less than ideal, only taking away four points in their last five matches as they sit in 12th place in the USL Western Conference. This will be the 10th match of the season, so with two-thirds of the season still to go, a turnaround is still possible. Eliminating simple defensive mistakes in the back and better execution up front will do wonders for the Alamo City boys as they try to turn the tide on this young season.
Keys to the game:
This midweek match should see a decent turnout from the San Antonio faithful. Turning Toyota Field into a fortress is paramount. SAFC's home record is a dismal 1-1-2, but if they can start winning at home, a postseason trip in October will be within reach. Eliminating the defensive mistakes and better finishing have been the consistent themes for SAFC in the first 10 matches. Fixing those issues will start to pay dividends for this squad.
SAFC are desperate for a win, especially against their rival that stole a win on their home turf the last time around. I think the Alamo City boys get the job done this evening, but it won't be easy. This is the first match of another back-to-back; SAFC will travel to RGV on June 4th for their next USL match. This is a great opportunity to take six points away from their closest rival and improve their standings in the league table.
The game is today, Wednesday, May 25th at 7:30pm CST. #SAvRGV
How to watch:
All-time regular season series: First match
San Antonio FC (2-2-2, 8pts) play their second straight match at home, this time against their South Texas rivals, Rio Grande Valley FC, in the first competitive match between the two sides. The two teams played a pre-season match in San Antonio that the home team won, 1-0, off a Toros own-goal. Even though it was just a pre-season game, you could sense that the players on the field wanted to make a statement.
San Antonio is coming off a 3-1 win over the lowly Roughnecks that featured two goals of the week by midfielder Rafa Castillo and forward Jason Johnson. The win puts the team back on track after back-to-back losses to end their early season three-match road trip. Rio Grande Valley (2-1-2, 7pts) will travel to the Alamo City after suffering a 2-0 defeat to the Western Conference leaders, LA Galaxy II in their home opener at the UT RGV soccer stadium. The Toros will play their home matches there while they wait for their 9,000 seat stadium is finished in Edinburg. It was an optimistic endeavor to have their stadium ready for the 2016 season after only announcing it to be built in mid-August of 2015.
This will be the first match of four between the two sides in 2016, playing two matches at each home stadium. This is the first time since the San Antonio Thunder of the original NASL that a pro-soccer team in the Alamo City will share an in-state rival that plays in the same league. The former Scorpions of the modern NASL did play the now-on-hiatus Austin Aztex in 2015 in their pre-season and in the U.S. Open Cup. SAFC will not, however, have the opportunity to play the Toros in the Open Cup since the Houston Dynamo voluntarily pulled them from the competition. This fixture certainly has the makings of a great in-state rivalry for both clubs, and if the Aztex can come back, there would be three USL clubs in Texas. It's also exciting for the fans of each club as it is easier to travel with the team in this derby matchup. It's a 3-3 1/2 hour trip to the Valley and vise versa, which is much closer than the Oklahoma teams, or Atlanta in the case of the Scorpions in the NASL. Having the opposing team's fans in Toyota Field will only enhance the gameday atmosphere.
Keys to the game:
SAFC needs to maintain ball possession throughout this match. In the pre-season game versus the Toros, the Alamo City boys had a hard time stringing together complete passes and gave up possession too easily. If they can maintain possession, they can grow their attack where J.J. and Carlos Alvarez will look to put the ball in the net.
The game is this Saturday, May 7th at 7:30pm CST. #SAvRGV
How to watch:
Back in early April, the Monitor News in McAllen, Texas tweeted that the USL had awarded a professional soccer franchise to the RGV Vipers. The Vipers organization is thought to become the affiliate of the Houston Dynamo of MLS. As part of the agreement between MLS and USL, all MLS teams are required to have their own reserve squad in the USL or have an affiliation with a USL team. Here is my story from when this news first broke.
The team will have roughly 8 months to get everything in order to be ready to start the USL season in March. This will be the 2nd USL team in the State of Texas, joining the Austin Aztex. The RGV team will add close rival to the Aztex, in addition to "closer" teams in the OKC Energy & Tulsa Roughnecks.
What does this mean for the Scorpions? This will add another regional team that could possibly play San Antonio during the early stages of the U.S. Open Cup. It also means another regional team that, because they play in different leagues, won't lessen travel costs for the Scorpions. It would be nice if a Texas rival would join the NASL to give the Scorpions a league rival where travel is feasible for San Antonio fans. Hopefully news of more NASL expansion will be forthcoming this fall.
Soccer On -ASC
San Antonio FC & the USL
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