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Mulamba, Heat rally to tie Aztex

Mulamba, Heat rally to tie Aztex

June 26, 2009

The Laredo Heat extended its streak to nine games without a loss but also extended its tie streak to four on Friday night at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex.

The Heat (4-1-6, 18 points) rallied to tie the Austin Aztex (61-3, 22) with a score of 1-1.

The only consolation for both teams is that the current Mid South Division leader in the El Paso Patriots (7-4-1, 22) tied against the West Texas Sockers on Thursday.

The Heat stays in third place and plays the Rio Grande Valley Bravos (4-3-4, 16) in another crucial match on Sunday.

With only five games remaining for Laredo and five teams vying for three playoff spots, the Heat cannot continue to leave points on the board for much longer.

Both teams weren't without their chances late in the contest, but the play of both goalkeepers in Laredo's Ryan Cooper and Austin's Jason Williams made sure the stalemate held up with key saves.

With two starters serving a one game suspension and the Heat's top goal scorer (Esteban Bayona) nursing an injury, it was Greg Mulamba who once again rose to the occasion.

Mulamba knocked in this third goal in as many games, providing his third game-tying score.

The Aztex duo of Jose Esparza and Kendell McFayden opened up the scoring in the 53rd minute.

Esparza began the play by freaking away down the right side, with McFayden trailing the play along side.

As soon as Esparza entered the goal area, he sent a pass to the McFayden who simply redirected the shot past Cooper.

The score awoken the Heat, who began asserting themselves for the remainder of the contest.

Their first chance to tie the game came off a corner kick in the 67th minute, after several frantic kicks inside the area the ball settled in the foot of Raul Quiñones whose point blank shot was deflected for another corner.

Four minutes later, the Heat found itself with another corner kick opportunity.

This time Mulamba headed the center from Juan de Dios Ibarra past Williams for the 1-1 tie.

The Aztex countered with a breakaway opportunity in the 76th minute, but Jorge Vega's shot inside the box was blocked by a leg kick from Cooper.

Mulamba and Alfredo Ramos had their opportunity to give their team a victory in the 88th minute when a two-on-one opportunity was dashed by Williams who anticipated Mulamba's juke and sealed up the ball.

The second half provided all the excitement that the first one lacked.

The first 45 minutes were a tug-of-war between the two teams as each tried to dictate the pace of the game.

Despite the Heat owning the time of possession, the Aztex didn't need much time to get their offense in gear and had a 4-3 shot advantage.

By the end of the contest, the Heat outshot the Aztex 8-6.