Image: Courtesy RGV FC

Toros host MLS affiliate to open preseason action

By Bryan Ramos

S

occer season is back in the Valley as the RGV FC Toros will kickoff their 2018 campaign with preseason action Saturday Feb. 3 when they host the Houston Dynamo at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.

The Dynamo of Major League Soccer are spending a week of their preseason training in the Rio Grande Valley with the finale of their trip coming in a match against their USL affiliate RGV FC Toros. While down in South Texas, the Dynamo will also suit up for an exhibition Wednesday against the UTRGV men’s soccer team, followed by the exhibition against the Toros at 6 p.m. Saturday at H-E-B Park.

RGV FC President Bert Garcia said fans asked for more affordable tickets so he responded by making tickets for the exhibition between the Dynamo and Toros $5 a pop.

“We heard the fans loud and clear, they wanted an affordable ticket,” Garcia said. “In this case, we’re trying to reward them back by having such an inexpensive game for everybody and still be able to see a Division I MLS team in the Houston Dynamo; Wilmer Cabrera, (Muaro) Manotas and all these great players against the RGV FC Toros.”

The Toros are entering year three and are looking to build off last season’s disappointing 9-15-8 finish, which resulted in RGV FC missing the playoffs.

The Houston Dynamo roster has four former RGV FC Toros on its 2018 squad: Memo Rodriguez, George Malki, Charlie Ward and Eric Bird.

Now leading the charge of RGV FC is first year Head Coach Gerson Echeverry, who joins the Toros after spending the last five years as the Head Coach of Seton Hall University’s men’s soccer team.

Echeverry will be at the helm of the bounce back effort in 2018 and hopes to take the Toros back to the top of the USL like in 2016 when they finished in second place in the Western Conference with a record of 14-7-9.

Echeverry, who was hired in December of 2017, is set to make his coaching debut with RGV FC in the exhibition match. Aside from facing the Toros MLS affiliate, Echeverry will coach against a familiar face. He worked under current Dynamo and former Toros Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera as an assistant for the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-17 Youth National team and residency program from 2008-2011.

“I’ve worked with Wilmer and I think our styles of play are similar,” Echeverry said. “I think one of the things that we want to do is mimic Houston’s style of play, in a sense not only because it’s been successful, but also just to help integrate some of our guys so they’ll be in an easier groove when they go up and vice-versa, when some of the senior guys come down. … We’re trying to emulate that style of play.”

Tickets for the exhibition match between the RGV FC Toros and the Houston Dynamo are on sale now and can be purchased at the H-E-B Park box office or at hebparkrgv.com.

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