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Heat in the PDL Finals

Heat in the PDL Finals

Friday August 5, 2011 - Heat in the PDL Finals

Heat romp Rough Riders, 4-1

Laredo Morning Times
Published: Saturday, August 6, 2011 4:07 AM CDT
In what has become a norm around these parts, the Laredo Heat are again vying for the grand prize in the Premier Development League.

Courtesy of Friday night’s 4-1 rout of Long Island, the Heat (12-3-2, 35 points) earned a ticket to today’s final despite missing the services of key striker Felix Garcia, midfielder Greg Mulamba and head coach Israel Collazo.

Mulamba and Collazo will be available tonight after serving their respective suspensions.

Laredo is in the final for the fourth time in the last six years and is chasing its second national title.

With a few central pieces out of action, Esteban Bayona – one of the fast rising stars in soccer – made his presence felt early and often against the Rough Riders, who strolled into the game as the league’s Eastern Conference champ and boasting a record of 12-1-3 (39 points)

“We are very excited to be up here,” Bayona said after the game.

“It’s the furthest that a lot of guys have been to play soccer, and the environment is incredible.

“As soon as the game started, we moved past our obstacles and missing players.

We were just so pumped up to play.

We definitely respect the Rough Riders; they are a great, great young team.”

Bayona had a goal and two assists against Long Island, and it was his tally in the 38th minute that set the tone and gave the Heat a 1-0 lead.

“The first goal of the game was so important.

I got a good cross from our goalie (Emmanuel Frias) and was able to put it in the net,” Bayona said.

“From there, with the lead, we really got going and it took some pressure off our defense.

“We were able to get comfortable and play our game for the win.”

Juan De Dios Ibarra added a goal in the 64th minute.

After the Rough Riders finally struck the scoreboard, Bayona found Damian Lopez in the 85th minute to essentially seal the deal.

Bayona’s assist on another strike in stoppage time of the second half was simply icing on the cake.

Today’s final match can be seen on TV at the Fox Soccer Channel at 6:30 p.m.

The team will also be having a watch party at Hal’s Landing tonight.