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Heat bounces back and takes 3 points

Heat bounces back and takes 3 points

Sockers fall to Heat 1-0

By Matthew Goricki
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Friday, June 29, 2012 9:49 AM CDT
With the way Laredo Heat defenseman Max Gunderson was passing the ball in the first half Thursday, he was bound to record an assist.

That is exactly what he did when he found Daniel Garza for the game’s only goal to lead the Heat to a 1-0 victory over the West Texas Sockers at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex.

Laredo (7-3-2, 23 points) moved back into first place of the Mid-South Division a day after the Austin Aztex tied the Heat for the division lead.

Garza’s goal came in the 42nd minute of an otherwise uneventful first half. Gunderson advanced the ball on the right side of the field and sent a crossing pass to the middle, where Garza was waiting.

The ball took one hop to Garza, who volleyed it from 12 yards out, leaving West Texas’ goalie Alonso Jimenez with no chance at a save.

“It’s my second assist of the year, so I’m glad my crosses are starting to get converted,” Gunderson said. “It bounced right to him and he volleyed it in.”

Earlier in the half, Gunderson sent a pass from nearly the same spot of the field to Walter Anoruo, positioned in front of the net from 10 yards out. Anoruo attempted a header, but the shot went wide right.

In the 30th minute, Gunderson sent another crossing pass from the right that was just over the head of forward Irving Villanueva.

“Everybody was passing and moving and looking for each other,” Gunderson said.

“It was a lot easier when we were moving.”

Eight minutes after Laredo cleared a West Texas corner kick, Luis De la Vega advanced the ball deep into Sockers’ territory. From 30 yards out, De la Vega sent a pass to Garza on his left.

Jimenez came out to challenge the shot and beat Garza to the ball. The ball bounced a few times before Jimenez was able to hold the ball with Gunderson closing in.

The rest of the half was played around midfield with neither team having any notable chances.

Both Jimenez and Heat goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias recorded a save, but the shots were too weak to do any damage.

The second half was just as uneventful with Laredo’s best opportunity to add another goal coming in the 82nd minute.

Attacker Horacio Leal moved down the right side of the field and set a lob pass towards Juan Nava on the left inside the box. Nava’s shot sailed way high of Jimenez before the two collided.

In compensation time, West Texas had a corner kick with Jimenez moved all the way up near the Heat box.

Even with the extra player out front, the Heat managed to clear the ball without allowing a shot on net.

After Laredo’s 2-1 loss to Austin on Wednesday, the Heat were eager to get a result to end a three-game winless streak.

“The pressure was on us to win,” Gunderson said. “We knew we needed it.”

Despite playing shorthanded with players fatigued from playing four games in seven days, the Heat looked just as quick to the ball as West Texas.

Midfielder Greg Mulamba didn’t play for the second straight game due to a pulled left hamstring.

Fellow midfielder Juan de Dios Ibarra only played 20 minutes in the second half after sitting out the whole first half to rest a groin injury.

Leal and Nava also played sparingly in the second half.