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Heat moves foward

July 27, 2009

It took the Laredo Heat 120 minutes, plus an additional five minutes of compensation time, to finally get past a determined West Texas United Sockers team on Saturday night at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex.


The 1-0 win gave the Gateway City club its third Mid-South Division title in the last five years.


Not only did the Heat faithful see a hard fought match played by two equally talented teams, they also witnessed seldom-used reserve, 18-year-old Alfredo Ramos, a recent graduate of St. Augustine High School, laser a shot from about 22 yards in the game's 109th minute to seal the victory.


Ramos entered the game at the 103rd minute when he was substituted in for veteran player Greg Mulamba.


The win advanced the Heat into the Premier Development League quarterfinal/semifinal tournament - the Elite Eight - next weekend.


"We received word (on Friday) from our League Director Lee Cohen that we were the frontrunners to host one of the two Elite Eight tournaments; however, all we needed to do was beat West Texas," Heat General Manager J.J. Vela said.


"I told him that is a lot easier said than done."


The Heat, though, got the job done, and playoff soccer will return to Laredo next weekend.


"At this point, we are very excited to once again showcase Laredo to the rest of the United Soccer Leagues soccer members spread throughout the United States and Canada," Vela said.


"Sixty-eight teams started this PDL season back in May and now only eight remain.


"We are going to have a great soccer event this coming weekend with teams coming to Laredo from Florida, California and Washington.


We are inviting all the soccer and sports fans to start making plans to come out, and not only support us but the visiting teams as well."


The three teams coming to Laredo are:


Southeast Division Champions: Bradenton (Florida) Academics.


Southwest Division Champions: Ventura County (California) Fusion.


Northwest Division Champions: Kitsap (Washington) Pumas.


The tournament schedule is as follows:


Friday, game one: at 5:30 p.m., Kitsap Pumas vs. the Ventura County Fusion.


Friday, game two: at 8:30 p.m., Bradenton Academics vs. the Laredo Heat.


On Saturday will be the PDL semifinal pitting the winner of game one versus the winner of game two.


The winner of Saturday's match will play the winner of the other PDL quarterfinal/semifinal tournament between the following four teams: the Des Moines (Iowa) Menace, the Ocean City (New Jersey) Barons, the Chicago Fire and the Cary (North Carolina) Clarets.


The United Soccer Leagues Premier Development Championship game will be on Saturday, Aug. 8.