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Laredo edges out El Paso

Laredo edges out El Paso

June 6, 2009

The Laredo Heat woke up this morning atop the Mid South Division standings after edging out the El Paso Patriots with a 1-0 victory on Friday night at the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex.


Whether the Heat (4-1-2, 14 points) stay on top or their reign is short lived falls on the Patriots (4-3-0, 12), who travel to Hidalgo to take on the Rio Grande Valley Bravos (3-2-1, 11) tonight.


Laredo does not play again until next Saturday when the team hits the road to take on the Houston Leones (0-5-2, 2).


"The plan was to play them aggressively and get control of the match," Heat defender Carlos Ordaz said on Friday.


"You have to give them credit; they're a good team that doesn't make it easy.


In the end, whether its 1-0 or 2-0, a win is a win and we'll take the three points."


There was nothing easy about the Heat's victory; besides a tough opponent, both sides had to deal with an extremely humid environment.


The Patriots received a devastating blow in the 10th minute of the contest when their top player Michael Griego had to leave the contest due to an undisclosed injury.


Heat midfielder Juan De Dios Ibarra added to his highlight reel with the game's lone goal in the 61st minute.


The goal came about after the Patriots sent a shot over the Heat goalkeeper Ryan Cooper's crossbar.


Cooper quickly got the ball rolling and a minute later Ibarra sent a blast from just outside the left area box past the Pats goalie Jorge Muñiz. Muñiz was a member of the Heat last season.


"It was a well-organized play that started with Cooper, and after some key passes, I managed to knock the ball in," Ibarra said.


The Patriots came out strong from the onset before the game settled into a back and forth match.


"We expected for El Paso to stay back, but in reality they played us aggressively," Ibarra said.


"We knew this was going to be a tough match, with the rivalry and all this game has become our classic.


Adding to that was the fact that we were playing for first place in the division."


The Patriots' best chance and the Heat's biggest break came in the 74th minute when a bad pass deep inside the Heat area was intercepted by El Paso's Rodrigo Morin, whose shot from inside the box bounced off the top crossbar and according to the side judge bounced outside the goal line.


Overall, the Heat out shot the Patriots 8-6.