Rio Grande Valley FC earned their first clean sheet of the USL Championship season last Saturday as they earned a point on the road against OKC Energy.
Dynamo Academy product Erik McCue started and logged 66 minutes in his first start of the season. McCue joined the Toros on loan for the remainder of the 2020 season and faced a quick turnaround after a 90-minute shift in a scrimmage at BBVA Stadium on Aug. 8.
The 19-year-old was training with his new teammates the following afternoon as the Toros returned from the state capitol.
“It was really good because the quicker I was able to get on the field with the guys, the better,” McCue said. “No matter what, it takes a few training sessions for teammates to get used to each other, so I settled in quite quickly and I feel that it has been going pretty well so far. Now I'm just looking forward to the next few games."
The center back looks to keep that momentum going on Saturday as the Toros open a two-game stretch at H-E-B Park. RGV host Austin Bold at 8 p.m. and the match will be streamed live on ESPN +.
For McCue, his focus shifts to building on the second half of a puzzle that has challenged the Toros this season – three points.
“Coming into the team as a center back, that is what I am going to be focused on. That was basically the first milestone I set for myself and the team going down to RGV - was to focus on not letting in any goals. Keep that clean sheet, then we can focus on building on that next week and then going on to get a win,” McCue said. “It’s obviously about getting the team to move in the right direction because they haven't been playing bad, they just haven't gotten results. It’s just about taking that energy and directing it in the right way. I was happy to get the clean sheet. That is exactly what I came down here to do. So, I will focus on that for this weekend as well."
Austin enters Saturday’s game with back-to-back draws and only one victory in their last five games. Austin sit two points shy of the final playoff spot and look to gain ground on the leader of Group D, San Antonio FC.
Austin’s last victory came against the Toros on Aug. 8 after RGV played with 10 men for 75 minutes. Kembo Kibato gave the Toros an early lead, but Austin’s pressure proved too much in the state capitol.
"From the very first training session this week we have been working on scouting them, this game is huge in terms of just keeping this momentum going,” McCue said. “We need to get some confidence for the team and that's another big thing, when you don't get the results you want confidence starts to drop, even if you are playing well. So, try to get some confidence with the guys and try to show them that if we believe in each other it can happen."
McCue will share the backline with fellow Dynamo teammate Kyle Adams, who has returned to the starting role with RGV. The duo will be tasked with defending Billy Forbes and Ismaila Jome who lead the team with a combined four goals. The RGV backline will also keep an eye on Xavier Baez who is tied with Jome with a team-high high two assists.
Following Saturday’s game, the Toros will close the two-game stretch at home against San Antonio on Friday, Aug. 28.