EL PASO, Texas (Saturday, July 11, 2020) – The USL Championship 2020 season returned to action after four months of league suspension due to COVID-19. The Rio Grande Valley FC (0-1-1) fell on the road 1-0 to El Paso Locomotive FC (1-0-1) on Saturday night.
The matchup was something unusual tonight as there was no fans in the stadium due to the ongoing pandemic. The first half was scoreless but the Toros pressed El Paso early in the game allowing Taiberson Nunes to strike off a deflection, but the ball went out to corner.
Ten minutes later, the Locomotive managed to sneak into the box but RGV FC stopped the play. The Toros had a dangerous opportunity after a set piece was taken where Robert Castellanos managed to head the ball towards the goal but wasn’t able to connect with Juan Carlos Obregon Jr.
The Locomotive gained force at the half as they kept attacking the Toros. Within one minute from the break, Marios Lomis took a right footed shot from outside the box forcing Paul Blanchette to save the ball at the top center of the goal.
Mechack Jerome struck the Toros’ goal post following a set piece, but the shot went out wide to the right post. Lomis attacked right after sending a right footed shot from the left side of the box where Blanchette saved the attempt.
In the 55th minute, Kevin Rodriguez threatened Los Locos goal as he sent a shot from outside the box but missed to the right. El Paso continued to attack the Toros as Blanchette continued to protect the goal. He was tested twice back-to-back ending with an angled shot from outside the box from Andrew Fox where Blanchette managed to save in the bottom left corner.
The Locomotive threatened once again in the 81st minute after Dylan Mares sent a shot following a set piece from outside the box, hitting the top left post. Two minutes later, Aaron Gomez connected with Mares where he then sent the ball past Blanchette to the back of the net marking the lone goal of the match, 0-1.
RGV FC finished with seven total shots and 54.3% of duels won. El Paso totaled 13 shots, six on target with 85.1% passing accuracy.
The Toros were led by Castellanos with two shots, adding 18 clearances and two interceptions. Robert Coronado totaled five tackles, one clearance and led with 69 touches. Blanchette totaled five saves and one clearance.
Nunes, Carter Manley, Kembo Kibato and James Murphy made their debut with RGV FC tonight.
RGV FC will return to H-E-B Park as they host interstate rival San Antonio FC on Friday, July 17. Kickoff is set at 8 p.m. CT. Matchup will be broadcasted locally on Somos El Valle 5.2 and nationally on ESPN+. To see more matchday information, visit www.rgvfc.com.