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An early exit for Heat

An early exit for Heat

July 31, 2009

The Bradenton Academics completed the underdog sweep in the Premier Development League Elite Eight opening round with a 3-1 victory over the Laredo Heat in extra time at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex on Friday.

The Ventura Fusion defeated the favored Kitsap Pumas 2-1 in the early game and faces the Academics tonight for the Southern/Western Conference championship.

Either the Academics or Fusion will advance to the PDL title game for the first time in their program's history. In Des Moines, Iowa, the Cary Clarets defeated the Ocean City Barons 1-0 and the Chicago Fire blanked the Des Moines Menace 3-0.

Neither winner was favored entering Friday night. The season came to an end for the Heat when Steven Morris broke through the middle of the area and knocked in the game-winner in the 116th minute. Ederson Lopes padded the lead with a last-minute goal.

"(It's a) tough loss, of course; tough way to end the season," Laredo General Manager J.J. Vela said. "It took long enough for the injury bug to catch up with us "We knew it wasn't going to be easy, and overall, we gave it a run.

Once again, we had another successful season over five years and we are very proud of the players and coaches. At the end, more than anything, the injuries caught up to us."

The Heat did an admirable job of taking control of the game for the most part, despite losing its two key defenders in Carlos Ordaz (first half) and Pedro Ramos at the start of the second.

The club rallied from an early 1-0 deficit in the first half and scored in the only shot taken in the second half, a beauty from Raul Quinones.

The Heat came close to knocking in the game-winner in both extra times, but Academics goalkeeper Ryan Thompson didn't budge. In the end, Laredo had outshot Bradenton 12-5.