By Bryan Ramos
he Houston Dynamo spent the last week living in the Valley in preparation for the start of the MLS season, and they looked right at home in a 9-1 preseason exhibition win over the RGV FC Toros Tuesday night at H-E-B Park.
The exhibition between the MLS-USL affiliates served as a homecoming for many, including former RGV FC and current Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera and players like Charlie Ward, Eric Bird, Memo Rodriguez and George Malki.
“This is the place where I was able to develop and to make that step to the first team and I’m always grateful to be back in this wonderful facility,” Malki said after game. “They treated us exceptional, and obviously, the tacos here are great. It’s nice to be great and see the old faces, the guys here at RGV. It’s nice to be back.”
After a closed scrimmage on Wednesday against UTRGV, the Dynamo locked horns with the Toros in three 30-minute periods as the affiliate teams continue their preseason training.
RGV FC put on its best performance in the first period as they were able to control the ball a bit and stop the Dynamo attack. That was until the 27th minute when Arturo Alvarez found the back of the net with a ball off his left foot to put Houston up 1-0.
The floodgates opened in the second period as the Dynamo found a rhythm, scoring three goals that came from Justin Bilyeu, Mac Steeves and Bird. Houston continued to roll in the final period with four goals and an own goal committed by RGV FC.
Cabrera said the exhibition wasn’t about the result but about working together to prepare for the start of the MLS and USL seasons in March.
“We’re moving in the right direction with the work that we want to do and we planned,” he said. “It is important to keep everyone healthy and to move forward with the preseason. We’re working hard, the guys are committed with the work and they’re going to be sore and tired.”
During his time leading the Toros, Cabrera was unable to coach a game in H-E-B Park because the opening of the stadium was delayed a year. He said the players felt comfortable with the high-level facilities the RGV FC Toros now have.
“It’s something beautiful, it’s a first-class facility and at the same time we’re proud to have this partnership with the Toros. The players especially, they felt very comfortable practicing, we have the gym, we have the fields, we have the stadium. Any team here in the United States, even in Latin America, South America, would be happy to have this type of facility. It’s a top-level facility.”
RGV FC Head Coach Gerson Echeverry, who made his debut with the Toros, said while its still early, his team has their work ahead cut out for them.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Echeverry said. “We have a great attitude, now, we just have to learn to play better.”
Alvarez, who kicked off the scoring for the Dynamo, praised the set up the RGV FC Toros have in H-E-B Park and their training facilities.
“This is how soccer needs to be in the U.S.,” Alvarez said. “It’s a USL team with facilities that not a lot of teams have. This is great for the spot. The guys that are here with the RGV Toros should take advantage of them. Happy to be here, and I’m sure we’ll be coming down here more often.”
The Dynamo will kick off regular season action March 3 at home against Atlanta United FC at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The Toros will begin its third season in the USL on March 16 at H-E-B Park when they host Saint Louis FC.