HERRIMAN, Utah – Rio Grande Valley FC rebounded in impressive fashion with a 3-0 victory against Real Monarchs SLC on Wednesday night at Zions Bank Stadium to solidify the Toros’ position in second place in the USL Championship’s Mountain Division.
After a quiet opening, the Monarchs almost grabbed the lead in the 10th minute as Bode Davis drove down the right and cut a cross back toward Bret Halsey, who miscued his shot straight to Malik Johnson. The Canadian’s first-time finish from the left side of the penalty area was parried away by Toros goalkeeper Tyler Deric and the offside flag was raised as Davis was caught after the rebound went his way near the goal line.
RGVFC’s first good look arrived soon after as Christian Sorto gained possession centrally and drove to the left side of the penalty area before cutting back onto his right foot and firing a shot that was deflected but still turned over the crossbar by Real goalkeeper Jeffrey Dewsnup. The visitors took the lead in the 19th minute, however, as Edvin Quero made a notable mark with his first goal for the club with a shot from 30 yards that clipped the underside of the crossbar and found the back of the net.
Davis went close to answering for the Monarchs just before the half-hour mark as he produced a nice piece of interplay with Aris Briggs to set up a shot that was smothered by Deric before being cleared. Deric was forced out of the game late in the first half due to injury, however, and his replacement Colin Miller was tested early in the second half as Sam Brown flicked a good header on target off a corner from the right by Milan Iloski to keep the Toros ahead.
Miller had to be sharp again on the ensuing corner as Danny Flores battled through the Toros’ defense after the ball was half-cleared only to see the goalkeeper turn his effort wide. The visitors then doubled their lead in the 54th minute as Juan Carlos Azocar played John Henry Sanchez into the right side of the penalty area for a low, near-post shot that found the back of the net.
The Toros almost made it three with 25 minutes to go as Michael Edwards stole onto a short back-pass just outside the right edge of the penalty area, but his lifted finish past the advancing goalkeeper bounced just wide of the left post. Real was reduced to 10 men in the 76th minute as Ibrahim Bance received his second yellow card of the game, but despite that Johnson almost pulled the hosts back into the game three minutes later, only to hit the left post with a shot from the left side of the penalty area.
Rio Grande Valley put the game away with seven minutes to go, however, as Rodrigo Lopez played a clever give-and-go inside the penalty area with Azocar to move into space on the right of the box, from where he delivered a low cross for Sorto to tap in the third of the night for the visitors.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
James Murphy, Rio Grande Valley FC – Murphy recorded one assist and three key passes while completing 46 of 52 passes overall, notching nine recoveries and winning 7 of 11 duels.
RGV – Edvin Quero (James Murphy) 19’
RGV – John Henry Sanchez (Juan Carlos Azocar) 54’
RGV – Christian Sorto (Rodrigo Lopez) 83’