Hey Roots fans, it’s game day, and notwithstanding the last three results, that’s still something we’re excited about! The Roots host RGV Toros at 7:00 p.m. tonight at CSU East Bay in Hayward. Remember that might mean you need to pay for parking. The team has confirmed that the food truck situation will be like a normal Saturday game.
I’ve looked at RGV’s crest, history, and ownership in a prior post. I have not previously commented on the fact that RGV play at H-E-B Park. H-E-B is a San Antonio-based supermarket chain. The name comes from the son of its founder, who expanded a single store into a chain. The son’s name was Howard Edward Butt. Howard Butt comes from a long line of Butts, starting with his mother, Flo Butt (risky click? only one way to find out), who founded the store, and Howard’s son, Chuck Butt.
This is the Roots’ fourth match against RGV Toros, having avoided them in the 2021 season. RGV Toros won the first match 1-0 in Edinburg, and Juan Guerra got his god-given draw in the second match, ending 2-2 at Laney.
The teams again met first this season with an early-season match in Edinburg, and again split the points.
Jonathan Rickets put the Toros up 1-0 in the 14th minute, redirecting a sharp pass from Nodarse. It took the Roots a long time to equalize, but when they did it was from a strong effort by Bryan Tamacas in his first appearance for the Roots, winning a header that put Rito through down the right flank. Rito found Johnny in the box, who tucked the ball underneath the on-rushing keeper.
So the Roots’ all-time record against Toros stands at 0-2-1, and it is HIGH TIME for an an entry in the win column.
Toros are just not having the season they hoped for, and sit eleventh in the western conference on 16 points, ahead of only the dire Las Vegas Lights (womp womp). RGV have scored only 15 goals on the season, which is better than Lights, Detroit City, and no one else. They have conceded 24, which is not great, although not as much of an outlier as their goals for. Prior to the games I will look at in more depth below, RGV lost three straight, at home to Tampa (understandable), at home to Charleston (eh), and away to Orange County.
Since then, things have been better for them. On June 10, they drew 3-3 at home to Miami FC, who are bad, but at least that will have been an exciting game for the fans.
Class USL that the scoreboard bug on this broadcast has the colors on the teams backwards. RGV conceded a stupid penalty in the third minute, which Miami converted, but RGV equalized in the 38th on a shot by Wilmer Cabrera from distance that Cabrera “put on a rope.” Do not ask me what that means. Ask the play-by-play guy and then tell me what he says. Toros took the lead on a great one-touch loft over the keeper by Frank Lopez. Miami equalized and then took the lead in the second half on questionable defense by RGV. But Ackwei, who was the goat on the go-ahead goal by Miami, earned the point for Toros in the 7th minute of stoppage time, tucking the cross away neatly from the penalty spot at the end of a long run up the field on the right side.
In their following match, away at New Mexico United, Toros again went up early, fell behind, and came back late.
Portillo’s equalizer in the 38th was a pretty sweet free kick that curled up over the wall. The announcer is really committed to Portillo’s “the ice man” nickname, but is apparently too much of a coward to scream “the ice man scoreth!”
New Mexico’s go-ahead goal I think was a totally legit control and chip by Daniel Bruce, but you can’t tell because the sunset is creating an impossible glare.
Last Wednesday, RGV hosted Colorado Springs and won 1-0, in a game where Switchbacks did not register a shot on target.
God damn it, I will die angry about this game.
|March 11||at San Antonio FC||L||1||3|
|March 19||at RGV Toros||D||1||1|
|April 1||vs New Mexico United||W||1||0|
|April 8||at Indy Eleven||W||3||0|
|April 15||vs Hartford||L||1||2|
|April 23||at Loudoun||L||0||2|
|April 29||vs Miami FC||D||0||0|
|May 6||at Birmingham Legion||W||4||1|
|May 13||vs Orb County||W||3||0|
|May 20||at Sacramento||L||1||3|
|May 27||vs San Diego Loyal||W||2||0|
|June 2||at Colorado Springs Switchbacks||W||1||0|
|June 10||at Phoenix Rising||D||2||2|
|June 17||vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds||D||0||0|
|June 24||vs Phoenix Rising||D||1||1|
|June 28||vs RGV Toros|||||||
|July 8||at Tampa Bay Rowdies|||||||
|July 12||vs. Memphis 901 (rescheduled)|||||||
|July 15||at Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside|||||||
|July 22||at El Paso Locomotiv|||||||
|July 26||vs Las Vegas Lights|||||||
|July 29||vs Detroit City|||||||
|August 4||at Charleston Battery|||||||
|August 19||vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks|||||||
|August 23||at New Mexico United|||||||
|August 26||at Louisville City|||||||
|September 2||vs Sacramento|||||||
|September 9||at Las Vegas Lights|||||||
|September 16||vs FC Tulsa|||||||
|September 23||vs Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside|||||||
|September 30||vs San Antonio FC|||||||
|October 4||at Orb County|||||||
|October 7||at Loyal|||||||
|October 14||vs El Paso Locomotiv|||||
I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s what Guerra does. At the end of the day, Phoenix need the points more than Oakland. Still, what a garbage end to the game. The Formella goal was the best I’ve felt about the Roots in weeks, even if it was in a game where the Roots may not have really deserved three points.
Basically, I thought Formella, Diaz, and Cedeño were the only Roots players I would have rated higher than 4/10.
The thing that hurt second most about the equalizer is that my most consistent source of joy through the game was Arteaga’s frustration that his teammates wouldn’t pass to him in the box, and then Arteaga’s farcical mistakes when they would pass to him. It wasn’t the surge of joy I got from the Formella goal, but it was the sustaining schadenfreude that kept the game from being a dud for 81 minutes. All ruined when he got that equalizer. I was pretty mad at Emrah, but apparently after the match he told the supporters groups that he took full responsibility for the mistake, which is such a captain move (in spirit, if not in title). Ugh. What a guy.
The Roots are missing Tamacas and Hackshaw, arguably the two most consistent performers. But they have to get some wins while those two guys are out or the Gold Cup is going to ruin what was otherwise a pretty good season. The attack isn’t working, and Noah has to find a way to make it work. Maybe as Cedeño settles it will improve.
Players to Watch
RGV likes to spread the goals around, which is how I’m going to frame the fact that they only have one player with more than two goals.
Wilmer Cabrera #13 – Coach’s son Wilmer Jr. is technically on loan with RGV from Colombian club Real Cartagena. WCII spent time in the Rapids and Dynamo youth setups, and did his college years at Butler, graduating in 2022. He has three goals and an assist on the season.
Taylor Davila #8 – Davila is from Sherman Oaks, California, and played college ball at Cal. Roots have seen him several times playing for Galaxy II in 2021 and 2022. Davila does not play an attacking role for the Toros, but he has netted twice and assisted three times. Both of his goals were from distance, one significantly deflected. They all count, though. Fotmob has Davila as their top-rated player.
Frank Nodarse # 15 – An auspicious name for a guy who plies his trade at Howard Butt field.
Lineup and Score Predictions
I don’t know what exactly to say about the lineup. I’m not sure why Nane is starting ahead of Klimenta in centerback, maybe to try to replace Hackshaw’s distribution. I have Klimenta back in, with Nane further up. Gomez appears to be healthy, but Cedeño has been one of our livelier players, so I can’t see dropping him. I’m pretty uncertain where Noah goes here.
Sick of this tie bullshit. We hate most of it, but RGV are bad so the Roots get it. Roots 1-0. Bring back Hackshaw and Tamacas. And spend the Rito money on a forward.
I’m also unsure what to make of Nane’s second straight start at CB but I agree that distribution had something to deal with. But maybe that was due to Roots looking for counter and ways to break past Phoenix’s back line. Against an 11th place RGV side, I’m thinking Oakland should keep things less complicated and go with a more natural looking back line of Barbir, Morad, and Emrah.
As for my score prediction, I think this is a good opponent for Roots going into a 10-day break. 2-0, Oakland.
Maybe I’m losing it, but I thought it was more or less obvious that the reason Nane played in the back line again is to (sort of) replace the passing of Hackshaw. Hackshaw is obviously pretty good with the ball at his feet, and in matchday 1 at the Gold Cup for Trinidad & Tobago ran the show as part of a double pivot, if Fotmob is to be believed. (Something to think about!) I do not think the Nane experiment is working, exactly, although who’s to say why that is exactly. (It is because the Roots are without Rito, Tamacas, and Hackshaw.)
Anyway, I can see keeping Nane central, so long as the back line is stocked with CBs. I propose that here, along with an attacking midfield quartet that may not complement each other very well in attack, but should be good with the counter press. Maybe create some chaos and let the strikers do their thing. 2-1 Roots.