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Heat, Pats juggling top spot in standings

June 1, 2009

The Mid South Division of the Premier Development League is slowly taking shape. With all seven division teams having at least five games under their belt, one can start guessing which teams are likely to be in contention down the road.

Not surprisingly, the Laredo Heat (3-1-2, 11 points) is one point behind the division leader El Paso

Patriots (4-2-0, 12). The two teams can once again exchange places when they meet up on Friday at the Texas A&M International soccer complex.

The Patriots have been looking to regain their top tier status after falling behind the Heat in the last couple of seasons. After the Heat game, the Patriots start making preparations for the U.S. Lamar Hunt Open Cup. They are the division’s Open Cup representatives. The Patriots are no strangers to the tournament, having made the trip eight times, and it’s their third in the last five years.

The Patriots host the Arizona Sahuaros on June 9 at El Paso. Former Mid South member the

Mississippi Brilla qualified for the first time in the Southeast Division.

In all, eight PDL clubs qualified for the tournament. This year’s crop, besides the Patriots and Brilla, include the Kitsap Pumas, Ocean City Barons Orange County Blue Star, St. Louis Lions, Chicago Fire and Reading Rage. The only team to repeat from last year was the Lions. Back in the Mid South Division and on the heels of the Patriots and Heat are the surprising West Texas United Shockers (2-1-2, 8) and the Austin Aztex Under-23 (2-1-2, 8). The Shockers routed the Dallas-

Fort Worth Tornados 4-0 over the weekend.

The other rookie franchise, the Rio Grande Valley Bravos (1-1-3, 6), managed its second tie game in a row with a 2-2 stalemate against Austin. The Tornados (1-4-1, 4) and the Houston Leones (0-3-2, 2) are in the cellar of the division. The Bravos and Leones played late Sunday; a Bravos win and they shoot up to third place. This week, the Austin Aztex and the Leones get a leg up with a contest on Thursday. After the Patriots game, the Heat gets a little over a week of rest before

traveling to Houston to close out its season series against the Leones on June 13.

The following is a brief look at the clubs that are meeting on Friday and how they have performed

on the season. Laredo: Has spent more time on the road than at home with four games outside of Laredo. The Heat has tied two, lost one and won one on the road and has scored six goals and allowed six.

At home, the team is perfect, with four goals scored and one allowed. Esteban Bayona is leading the team with three goals. Albert Escovar follows with two goals. Juan de Dios Ibarra and Soamy

Bautista have one goal apiece. The team has five players with assists in Raul Quiñones, Greg

Mulamba, Ibarra, Alejandro Garcia and Theo Browne. Ryan Cooper has one shutout and has only allowed .80 goals against on the season.

El Paso: The Patriots have played four of their six games at the comforts of home. Their only loss was against Laredo. They have scored nine goals and allowed seven, with six of those goals scored coming at home.

They have allowed three goals at home, two of them were by Laredo. Their leading goal scorer is

Michael Griego with three goals. Griego has also added two assists. With two goals apiece are Ivan Cervantes and Edgar Mendoza. Mendoza is tied wit Griego in assists with two. Their goalkeeper, Jorge Muñiz, played for Laredo last year. He has posted three shutouts and allowed 1.166 goals on the season.