EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley FC kept itself in with a chance of reaching the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs as Christian Sorto recorded assists on goals by Rodrigo Lopez and Kyle Edwards to earn a 2-0 victory against New Mexico United on Saturday night at H-E-B Park.
With the win, the Toros moved within two points of New Mexico for fourth place in the standings with a game in hand as the season reaches its conclusion over the upcoming week.
The Toros got an early look in the fourth minute when Andres Flores tried to feed Kyle Edwards at the top of the penalty area, but when the St. Vincent and Grenadines international was crowded out the ball rebounded to Flores for a first-time shot that went just over the crossbar. Neither side created many chances overall in the first half, however, and it wasn’t until five minutes before the break that the hosts created another half-chance as Christian Sorto mishit a header that was gathered safely by New Mexico’s Alex Tambakis.
New Mexico went without a shot on target in the first half, but rectified that inside the opening minute after the break as Ilija Ilic delivered a nifty pass over the top that found Chris Wehan moving toward the top of the penalty area, but Toros goalkeeper Tyler Deric came off his line quickly to make a good save and keep the game scoreless.
That save proved key a minute later when the hosts took the lead as Sorto delivered a pass from the left channel that was dummied by Jonas Fjeldberg at the top of the penalty area, leaving it to run for Rodrigo Lopez to shoot low in the left corner of the net from the right side of the penalty area.
Sorto then picked up his second assist of the game in the 58th minute as he got on the end of a deep cross from the right by Juan Carlos Azocar at the far post and headed back inside for Edwards, who controlled seven yards from goal and fired home into the left corner of the net for a two-goal advantage.
The Toros had a chance to add a third on the hour-mark as a cross was half-cleared to Fjeldberg at the top of the penalty area, but his shot was parried by Tambakis. The New Mexico shot-stopper made another pair of excellent stops to first stop Baboucarr Nije from the left side of the penalty area before Sorto followed up on the rebound, only to be denied again in the 67th minute.
New Mexico was unable to find much in the way of response in the final 20 minutes as the early chance to start the second half proved their only serious incisive moment, and that allowed the Toros to close out the contest and move into the final week of the regular season with their chances in their hands with two games to play.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Christian Sorto, Rio Grande Valley FC – The El Salvador international had a standout performance in the attacking third with two assists, three shots and seven key passes while also completing 29 of 33 passes overall.
RGV – Rodrigo Lopez (Christian Sorto) 47’
RGV – Kyle Edwards (Christian Sorto) 58’