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Heat wins Mid South Title in OT

Heat wins Mid South Title in OT

July 25, 2009

For the third time in five seasons, the Laredo Heat Soccer Club is the Premier Development League's Mid South Division champion.


The Heat (8-1-8) defeated the West Texas United Sockers 1-0 in extra time on Saturday night at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex to continue its quest for a fourth straight PDL championship berth.


A goal by Alfredo Ramos in the game's 119th minute undid all the hard work the expansion Sockers (8-6-3) had put into keeping the game scoreless through regulation and one period of extra time.


Ramos sent the ball from just inside midfield to the West Texas goal, where it bounced off the post before flying into the net and setting the crowd of 1,425 into a frenzy.


Because the PDL playoff guidelines do not allow for golden goals in extra time, Laredo had to hold its lead through the rest of the period and had a scare while doing so.


Just minutes after Ramos' goal, Heat defender Soamy Bautista and Sockers defender Michael James collided head-on, halting play and silencing the fans still celebrating the Laredo score.


Both players stayed facedown on the field for several minutes, but Bautista returned once play resumed while James appeared to be awaiting a stretcher.


He was not the first player to leave the game with an injury, as Heat defender Pedro Ramos, midfielder Alex Hergert and forward Dionisio Infante were each replaced after scares earlier in the game.


Laredo midfielder Greg Mulamba, who was a game-day decision due to a previous injury, started and played 103 minutes in Saturday's contest.


Heat goalkeeper Ryan Cooper made five saves in the game, while his aggressive counterpart, Lief Craddock, made three.


The contest lived up to its billing as a matchup between the division's top two defensive teams and seemed destined for penalty kicks until Ramos broke the lengthy tie.


It was also a physical showing, as pushing and shoving began not long after the clock lit up, but only six yellow cards were given out.


Mulamba and Carlos Ordaz earned Laredo's cautions, while Eduardo Cisneros, Ben Everson, Dominic Furness and Isaias Miramontes were carded for West Texas.


With the win, the Heat clinched the right to host the Southern/Western Conference portion of the PDL's Elite Eight tournament next weekend.


Semifinal games will be played on Friday at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. with the final scheduled for Saturday at 8:15 p.m.


Laredo will face the Bradenton Academics in the later semifinal, while the Ventura County Fusion will face the winner of Saturday's game between the Seattle Fusion and Kitsap Pumas in the early game.