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:
San Antonio FC & the USL
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