Live Blog: Oakland Roots at RGV Toros (March 19, 2023)

Hello and welcome to tonight’s live coverage of Oakland Roots visiting RGV Toros in Edinburg, coming to you blog alongside the Homegrown Hooligans at Franks Sports Bar and Grill in San Leandro. Roots head into H-E-B Park looking to improve on last week’s 3-1 loss to San Antonio FC and do so with Anuar Pelaez entering the starting 11.

Last season, Oakland lost 1-0 and tied 2-2 with RGV. The Rio Grande Valley side is coming off of a 1-1 draw against Las Vegas, where starting center back Érik Pimentel drew a red card in second-half stoppage time.

Tonight’s match provides a good measuring stick for Roots, where RGV returns the bulk of last year’s lineup including leaders like Christian Pinzon, Ricardo Ruiz, and Frank Lopez, but lost a key midfielder from 2022 in Jonas Fjeldberg–who now plays for Indy Eleven.

In Bloom’s match preview, he takes a look at some of the Toros’ offseason moves. He names Ruiz and Jose Francisco Torres as his two players to watch:

RGV had a mediocre offseason, bringing in notably Haitian winger Christian Francois and Venezuelan leftback Gabriel Benitez, and not much else (unless I missed something (all I did was read USL Tactics)). RGV also returns head coach Wilmer Cabrera, who Edson Ochoa mentioned to us early last year he really believed in.  I think there’s good reason for that, as Cabrera took a solid but uninspiring team to the playoffs.

Man of the Match – Edgardo Rito & Johnny Rodriguez

We’re electing two nominations for RootsBlog Man of the Match with the two who connected on the equalizer, Edgardo Rito and Johnny Rodriguez.

For Rito, he was a difference maker down the right wing, once again. He completed multiple key passes, including the perfect pass to Johnny for the goal. The offense seemed to click at an even higher level around Rito once Bryan Tamacas came into the match.

Johnny came on as a sub in the 64th minute and scored the equalizer on a perfect run. It was a good response to last week’s match, this time doing well to maintain possession. Against SAFC, Rodriguez was dispossessed five times compared to zero tonight.

Initial Takeaways

  • Really good moment for Johnny to land the equalizer. Getting 25 minutes of action, it perhaps is a sign of the respect Delgado has for the center forward. He had some impressive moments that truly eclipsed some of his struggles against San Antonio. I’d like to see how Johnny and Pelaez look in a formation together.
  • Bryan Tamacas is the truth. In his debut, Tamacas was instantly a difference-maker and was a big factor in the equalizing goal. He was able to keep the ball on off of his head, which sprung Rito down the right side. Rito found Johnny on the forward run for the goal–it was a product of what you want to see. It’s evident Delgado wants mobility out of the right side center back role; Tamacas looks like he’ll thrive in this system.
  • Lack of finishing may become a problem. Roots have created several clear chances that they were unable to put away against both SAFC and RGV. Pelaez had a shot on target in the first five minutes, Morad couldn’t put away a header in the first half, while Klimenta also had a free header saved. Reid also had a ball smash off of the crossbar in the closing seconds. The ability to finish is definitely an area for improvement.
  • Another area for improvement is proving to be set piece defense. San Antonio scored from a set piece in Game 1, while Roots conceded a fairly easy goal versus RGV. Oakland also struggled on set-piece defense in 2022, so it seemingly has been a negative quality that has carried over from last year.

Key Events

  • ROOTS GOAL – 82′

JOHNNY SCORES. Tamacas somehow keeps the ball in off his head and goes to Rito–who sends a perfect feed to Johnny for the equalizer.

  • RGV goal – 14′

Free kick in Oakland’s defensive third on the far left side. Ball in trickles around and gets sent to Ricketts for the tap in.

  • Oakland Roots Starting 11

It looks like we’re getting closer to seeing Roots’ “A-team” with Pelaez getting the first start of his career in Oakland. I’m excited to see how Pelaez, Trayvone Reid, and Edgardo Rito can stretch the field with their pace for a full 90 minutes, which is a quality coach Noah Delgado mentioned back on media day. Bryan Tamacas is on the subs with Emrah Klimenta continuing as the right side center back, I’m thinking we’ll see Tamacas at some point in the second half. Napo Matsoso continues in the midfield and Irakoze Donasiyano also gets his first start with Oakland.

  • RGV Toros Starting 11


  • And we’re back for Game 2! Can Oakland Roots show they are Western Conference contenders this year with a win on the road in Edinburg?

  • Pelaez shot on target – 4′

    Mfeka feeds Rito, who sends a pass into Pelaez. Takes a shot on the first touch and pushed out for a corner.

  • Roots corner – 5′

    Leads to nothing.

  • Ball over the top to Formella -8′

    Can’t bring it in to get a shot.

  • RGV’s Francois shot high – 12′

    Tipped over for a corner.

  • RGV corner – 13′

    Cleared momentarily.

  • RGV free kick – 13′

    Draws free kick in Oakland’s defensive third on the far left side. Ball in trickles around and gets tapped in Ricketts.

  • Roots corner – 17′

    Koze draws the corner.

    Plays short, ball in from Matsoso catches Morad offsides.

  • RGV curling shot goes over by Ricketts – 20′

  • Roots corner – 22′


  • Formella shot from top of area blocked – 26′

  • Roots corner – 29′

    Emrah flicks on to Morad, header goes just wide.

  • Roots set piece – 36′

    In the attacking area on the right side. Leads to a play in to Emrah, header shot on target. Emrah was called offside.

  • Pelaez goes off briefly, takes a ball to the head – 40′

  • Rito saves a goal, stops a 1-on-1 situation with a slide tackle from behind – 41′

  • Roots corner – 45+1′

    Ball in by Rito knocked out. Claimed.

  • First Half Notes:

    RGV scored what seemed like against the run of play with Roots controlling the early action, but the wind got taken out of their sails following Toros’ goal. It’s a score conceded by a set piece, which appears to be an early Achilles heel of the season.

    Roots have seven shots with two on target, one blocked, one big chance missed holding 44 percent possession. RGV has five shots, three on target, and one big chance converted.

  • Roots turnover high – 47′

    Leads to a shot that trails wide.

  • Roots corner – 49′

    Plays short to Memo, ball goes out.

  • Paul diving save – 51′

    Huge opportunity for RGV, first touch shot pushed wide by Paul.

  • Koze shot on target – 53′

    Slow and low, easy to handle.

  • RGV free kick – 54′

    In a really good area, right above Roots’ penalty area on the left side. Blocked out for a corner.

  • RGV corner – 56′

    Leads to a counter attack for Roots. Lindo has a shot that hits a defender and falls to Pelaez, who follows up with a shot that sails high.

  • Napo on the ground after extending for a tackle. Walks off the field, coming back on.

  • Napo coming off, needs help off of the field – 64′

    Johnny and Nane coming on for Pelaez and Napo.

  • Roots free kick – 77′

    Lindo draws foul in a good area in the attacking third.

  • Roots free kick x2 – 79′

    Johnny draws a foul this time on the left side. Ball in by Memo goes out the back.

  • Reid on for Formella – 80′

    Tamacas on the field as well for Emrah.

  • ROOTS GOAL – 81′

    JOHNNY SCORES. Tamacas somehow keeps the ball in off his head and goes to Rito–who sends a perfect feed to Johnny for the equalizer.

  • RGV free kick – 84′


  • Johnny called offside – 87′

    Nearly a 1-on-1 opportunity.

  • Roots corner – 88′

  • Johnny header on target – 90+5′

    Rito feeds Johnny for a free header, but his attempt goes straight to the keeper.

  • RGV shot on target – 90+6′

    Very good opportunity missed.

  • Rito nearly feeds Reid for the winner, but his shot HITS THE CROSSBAR.

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