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Match Preview: Heat Visiting Rio Grande Valley, Open Cup Qualification on the Line

The Laredo Heat Soccer Club (3 – 1 – 0 / 9 points) is in the rare position of controlling their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tournament destiny. Well, sort of.

A win on Monday May 25th (Memorial Day) versus the expansion Rio Grande Valley Bravos (1 – 1 – 1 / 4 points) in Hidalgo, Texas will give the Laredo Heat the three points they need to tie the El Paso Patriots with nine U.S. Open Cup qualifying points; however, the Heat not only need to win in order to qualify but they need to win by at least a two goal differential in order to surpass the Patriots who right now have a plus three goal differential in qualifying games to the Heat’s plus two goal differential in qualifying games.

And if that is not confusing enough, even after all of this, it could still come down to a coin flip to see who advances from the Mid-South Division between the two teams.

If the Heat win by one point, even if their total goals scored on Monday night exceeds three goals, due to U.S. Open Cup tie breaking rule number four, the maximum number of goals that will be awarded to the Heat’s total goal count in qualifying games will be three, tying them with the Patriots at seven.

U.S Open Cup USL Premier Development League Tiebreaker

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

- Irrelevant to the Heat and Patriots because they did not play each other in U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Games

2) Total Wins in Open Cup Qualifying Games

- Irrelevant to the Heat and Patriots because both teams will have NINE (9) Points if the Heat beat the Bravos

3) Goal Difference (+/- three goals maximum for each U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Game)

- First tiebreaking scenario that could benefit the Heat if beat the Bravos by two or more goals

4) Goals Scored (+ / - three goals scored maximum for each U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Game)

- This will come into play if the Heat score three or more goals versus the Bravos but only beat them by one point

5) Lottery conducted by the United Soccer Leagues (coin flip)

- If all four of the above tiebreaker scenarios materialize, which could easily happen, then a coin flip will determine who represents the Mid-South Division

“Who would have though the H1N1 virus would have an impact on the last day of U.S. Open Cup Qualifying in the Mid-South Division of the Premier Development League (PDL)”, joked Heat General Manager J.J. Vela.

“This game versus the Bravos was previously scheduled to be the home opener for the Rio Grande Valley team back on Saturday, May 2nd; however, the United Soccer Leagues, the Bravos and Heat organizations postponed the game due to precautionary health reasons on the Mexican border area to Monday, May 25th, the last day to play qualifying games for the U.S. Open Cup”.

Vela added, “Because this game was scheduled as a qualifying game, it had to be played in order to determine a representative from our division”.

“Coach Collazo and the players understand the scenario and predicament we are in if we are to qualify and are aware of what needs to happen on Monday night in Hidalgo which is to beat the Bravos by two or more goals. There is no reason to go over the qualification guidelines anymore and like I said before the Houston game, if it’s our destiny to play in the Open Cup this season, the chips will fall where they need to”, concluded Vela.

Kick-off is set for 7:30 PM at the Valley View High School Multi-Purpose Stadium.
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