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Match Preview: Heat Hosting the Houston Leones

May 21, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009 (Laredo, TX):

If the Laredo Heat (2 – 1 – 0 / Six Points) want to participate in the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, then this game versus the visiting Houston Leones (0 – 1 – 1 / One Point) on Friday, May 22, 2009 at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex is as close to a must win game as they come. Kick-off for this match is set for 8:00 PM.

Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is entering its 96th year in 2009.

In a nutshell, the U.S. Open Cup is very similar to domestic cup competitions popular throughout Europe, South America and the rest of the world. Cup competitions, which usually run concurrent with a country’s league season, are open in the early stages to any club that can qualify, giving local amateur teams a chance to compete against the best teams a country has to offer.

In the United States, a team like the Laredo Heat has four preset regular season games to open up the regular season that are designated as U.S. Open Cup Qualifiers. If the Heat qualifies to participate in the U.S. Open Cup, they will have the chance to open up U.S. Open Cup tournament play versus teams in the USL-2 or USL-1 Divisions. Major League Soccer teams join the tournament after the second round of play.

“Right now in the Mid-South Division, the El Paso Patriots are in the driver’s seat in terms of qualifying because they have won their two first two U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Games”, said Heat General Manager J.J, Vela.

“We did not do ourselves any favors when we lost in Midland last week versus the West Texas United Sockers because that was our second qualifying match of the season. While we are not mathematically out of contention, a win in Midland would have given us a little more breathing room”.

Vela added, “Now for El Paso, it will not be easy to qualify since they will play in Austin on Friday and in Dallas on Saturday and from experience, both of these clubs are tough to beat at home plus the DFW Tornados also have an incentive to beat the Patriots if El Paso losses or draws in Austin on Friday because they are also in the mix to qualify”.

Concluded Vela, “At the end of the day, we need beat the Leones on Friday and then the Rio Grande Valley Bravos on Memorial Day and then let the chips fall where they may if we are to qualify this season for the U.S. Open Cup”.

United Soccer Leagues PDL Tiebreaker Information

1) Head to head record based on total points in Open Cup Qualifiers

2) Total wins in Open Cup qualifying games

3) Goal difference (+/- 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

4) Goals scored (+ / - 3 goals maximum for each USOC qualifier)

5) Lottery conducted by the United Soccer Leagues

Heat Notes

Fans, do not forget, if the Heat score three or more goals at any regular season home game, each fan present with paid admission will be given a coupon for a free original Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich courtesy of the Chick-Fil-A Mall del Norte location. So come out to support your hometown soccer team and cheer them on to a win and three or more goals.

For additional information on the Laredo Heat Soccer Club, please visit our website at www.laredoheatsc.com or call the Heat office at 723 – 4700.