HERRIMAN, Utah – Rio Grande Valley FC moved into fourth place in the USL Championship’s Mountain Division as Christian Sorto recorded a goal and assist in a 3-1 win against Real Monarchs SLC that lifted the visitors past New Mexico Unitedby a point in the division standings with one game remaining for both in the regular season.
The Toros had the first real look on goal in the eighth minute when Rodrigo Lopez fired over the crossbar from 25 yards out, while a few minutes later Sorto let fly with another effort that went well wide of the left post after he had gained possession 25 yards from goal. The El Salvador international put the visitors ahead in the 16th minute, however, as a defender tried to block a central pass by Jonas Fjeldberg near the top of the penalty area and sent the ball directly to Sorto in the left side of the penalty area where he delivered a shot to the far corner of the net.
Chances began to be scarce following the goal, but in the 38th minute the visitors almost doubled their advantage when Lopez found Fjeldberg as he approached the top-left edge of the penalty area. The Norwegian cut inside onto his right foot past a pair of defenders but rang the crossbar with his shot as it caromed away to safety.
Three minutes later, however, the Monarchs leveled on a fortuitous bounce of their own. Midfielder Leo Torres attempted to break onto a pass over the top of the back line but was beaten to the ball just outside the penalty area by RGVFC goalkeeper Tyler Deric, only for his attempt to clear to hit his teammate Adrian Diz Pe – who had been tracking Torres – and for the ball to bounce into the open net.
The visitors tried to quickly regain their advantage as two minutes later Carter Manley was played into the right side of the penalty area for a low shot that was saved by Monarchs goalkeeper Jeff Dewsnup. Juan Carlos Azocar also had a shot turned away in the final minute before the break, but after a quiet start to the second half the Toros regained the lead as Fjeldberg produced an excellent finish as he cut past a defender on the left edge of the penalty area and curled a shot to the top-right corner.
Lopez then matched the Norwegian’s effort in the 66th minute after the Toros were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal beyond the top-right edge of the penalty area to make it a two-goal lead. The veteran stepped up and delivered a dipping free kick that went over the defensive wall and picked out the top-right corner of the net.
Sorto had a pair of chances late on to put the game away but couldn’t find the target with either, while with almost the final kick of the game the Monarchs almost grabbed a consolation goal as Max Mata hit the crossbar, but the visitors were never in danger of seeing their lead slip away as they set up the biggest game of their season on Saturday night at home to El Paso Locomotive FC with a chance to earn a postseason berth.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Christian Sorto, Rio Grande Valley FC – Sorto notched a goal and assist while finishing the night with five shots and two key passes overall to add to his positive display on Saturday night as the Toros took back-to-back wins for the first time since June.
RGV – Christian Sorto 16’
SLC – Adrian Diz Pe (Own Goal) 41’
RGV – Jonas Fjeldberg (Christian Sorto) 62’
RGV – Rodrigo Lopez 66’