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Heat in the mix of things

June 8, 2009

The Laredo Heat and El Paso Patriots carousel atop the Mid South division standings continues.

The Patriots (5-3-0, 15 points) bounced back from their los to the Heat and edged out the Rio Grande Valley Bravos (2-2-3, 9) by a score of 3-2 on Saturday.

The loss dropped the Bravos from third place down to fifth, showing that there is very little breathing room for most teams in the division.

Taking over third place were the Austin Aztex which beat Houston (5-1) and tied Dallas Fort Worth (3-3) over the week.

In fourth place are the West Texas United Shockers, who defeated Houston (1-0).

The Heat hope the Leones are still in a generous mood when they play them on Saturday in Houston.

The Heat have played the Leones twice on the season, winning once (1-0) and managing a tie (1-1).

In the meantime, the Heat already managed what could turn out to be a key season series sweep of the Patriots.

"What's important is that we won," Heat coach Israel Collazo said about the victory.

"All the team's that we have played against have come and played us extremely tough and physical. Against El Paso it was more of the same and besides they're a good team."

"They were better in the first half before we turned things around in the second and thank God we rescued those three points."

Helping the Heat and the rest of the division is that El Paso has a one-point lead with eight games played, while the Heat and Austin have played seven games and West Texas six.

After the Heat take on the Leones, they play their next three games at home, where the club has yet to be defeated in three games.

The Patriots have a great chance to keep things going with three home games of their own, two against the Leones.

The Pats, though, take a break from PDL action on Tuesday when they host Arizona Sahuaros in an U.S. Open Cup game.

Austin and West Texas face off twice in the next three games to further help ones cause. Austin also plays El Paso and West Texas takes on Rio Grande Valley.

The physical nature of the games the Heat have played has taken its toll, but the club does have some time to heal.

With their next game not until Saturday, the Heat is hoping that Alberto "Chiti" Escovar and Erick Acevedo can return from their injuries.

"I'm hoping to have everyone back come Saturday, but at the same time we are not going to hurry them back," Collazo said.

The club also welcomes back defender Soamy Bautista and midfielder Joel Perez who each served a one-game suspension.

The silver lining in the recent roster shuffle has been the strong play of many of the team's former youth players.

Against El Paso former Heat youth members and local high school players Eusebio Garcia, Eduardo Gonzalez, Alfredo Ramos, Alejandro De La Fuente and Frank Lara did their part.

"They have been given an opportunity, and they have made the most of it," Collazo said.