RGV FC Toros yield instant equalizer, finish level with Tulsa Roughnecks FC

EDINBURG — After RGV FC’s Jesus Enriquez scored in the 75th minute Saturday to snap his team’s 330-minute scoreless drought, Toros coach Gerson Echeverry turned to his assistants, preparing to make a substitution in hopes of protecting RGV’s one-goal advantage. The next time he looked to the field, just 35 seconds after the restart, Tulsa’s Paris Gee was firing a shot into RGV’s net.

Tulsa’s equalizer in the 77th minute pushed RGV’s winless streak to a franchise-record 11 matches, as Saturday’s contest finished level at 1-1 at H-E-B Park.

“It was just, we lost concentration,” Enriquez said. “It was half a second after a goal, they score. That’s just lack of concentration. At the end of the day, it’s frustrating all the time. Every single time. We get up, and we end up tying, or we end up losing.”

The result moves RGV FC’s record to 1-6-10 on the year, with 13 points ranking third from the bottom in the USL’s Western Conference standings. Tulsa is one of the only teams behind RGV, sitting 1-8-9 with 12 points.

The Toros looked poised to capture their first win since April 25 after scoring first on Saturday, but their advantage was short-lived.

“As you can see, we don’t know what to do with it when we score,” Echeverry said. “How can you give up a goal 30 or 40 seconds after you score? That’s lack of concentration. That’s lack of just being aware and having that sense of urgency, or maybe just the fact that maybe we haven’t found ourselves in that position enough. … Right now, we have a lot of disappointed guys.”

Toros midfielder Bryce Marion, who assisted on the goal, said RGV was frustrated to concede so quickly. He added that the Toros relaxed after their score, leaving them vulnerable.

“There must have been some moment of pause, and just a slight misread of the team, or I can’t really diagnose it right now. I need to look at the film,” Marion said. “To get scored on so quickly after we scored a goal, it definitely had something to do with we probably took our foot off the pedal.”

Tulsa entered Saturday having allowed 36 goals in 17 matches, the worst mark in the Western Conference. But Saturday’s match was level into the second half before Marion entered as a sub in the 65th minute and Enriquez came on as a sub in the 74th.

Only a few seconds after Enriquez entered, Marion stole the ball away from a Tulsa defender on the right wing, dribbled toward goal and sent a rolling cross through the box. Enriquez finished into the right side of the net from just left of the penalty spot.

Echeverry said he hoped coming off the bench would light a fire under Enriquez, who had started the team’s previous 10 matches. Echeverry added that RGV FC’s offensive players should all feel pushed after the team announced the signing of forward Carlos Small on Friday.

The tally was Enriquez’s second of the season.

“Obviously, it felt good at the moment,” Enriquez said. “But when they scored the goal, it just felt like nothing. It was nothing.”

Gee tallied for Tulsa on a give-and-go play. He had his back to the net about 25 yards from goal when he received the ball and flicked a pass to Jesus Ferreira on his first touch. Gee spun and sprinted toward the net, taking possession of the return pass about 20 yards from goal. He took a few dribbles into the right side of the penalty box and fired a low shot into the left side of the net past RGV keeper Nico Corti.

Still, Marion believed RGV had time to rally.

“I thought they were there for the taking. If we could’ve been a bit sharper in some of our final-third movements, I felt we could’ve taken that winning goal,” Marion said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to. As a team, we sort of smelled blood in the water and wanted to go after that, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to.”

Saturday marked yet another match in which the Toros felt they got the better of play before a lackluster result.

RGV maintained 58.9 percent of possession for the match and outshot Tulsa 15-10, including a 6-2 margin in shots on target. But the Toros found just one goal and continue to rank tied for last in the USL with only 15 tallies on the season.

“We created, we knocked the ball around, we continued having a lot of possession, and I thought we managed the game pretty well,” Echeverry said. “But again, in front of goal, not enough.”