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Scorpions sting Heat

Photo by Tom Reel | San Antonio Express-News
Photo by Tom Reel | San Antonio Express-News

Heat fall to Scorpions in second round

By Adam Geigerman

Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:21 AM CDT
The Laredo Heat etched their own history Tuesday in a 2-0 loss to the San Antonio Scorpions in the first ever South Texas Derby.

The Heat faced the Scorpions, an expansion team in the North American Soccer League — a second-tier professional team — in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the Blossom Athletic Center.

The third-tier Premier Development League’s Heat qualified for the Open Cup only once before in their seven-year existence, in 2006, and fell in the first round.

With the win, the Scorpions will now face the Houston Dynamo in the third round.

Laredo defeated the Houston ASC New Stars, 4-2, on May 15 to advance into previously uncharted territory.

The climate of the match shifted against Laredo upon a flurry of cards — of both the yellow and red variety — flying from the official’s hand.

A pair of second-half ejections stymied the zealous Laredo offense.

Backline stalwart Adan Villavicencio was sent off in the 46th minute for a tackle on a Scorpion with nothing but the net in front of him.

Forward Juan Nava saw the referee’s red after shoving a Scorpion defender in retaliation for a hard tackle in the 78th.

The disintegration of the Heat’s numbers on the pitch set up the Scorpions’ scoring prowess.

The home side slotted its first goal in the 65th minute when Pablo Campos pounded a rebound into the top of the nylon.

Kevin Harmse grounded in the second tally exactly 10 minutes later.

The first half featured a wildly flirtatious initial 15 minutes, with both sides testing each other’s boundaries.

Possession divided evenly across the field and equally for the opponents, but the Scorpions began pressing their point.

With a ballistic attack widely out-sizing the Heat, the Scorpions showed strength on the ball.

A red card to midfielder Walter Ramirez for a viscous head-butt to Laredo’s Martin Moreno put the Scorpions back on their heels.

Forced to play a man down, the Scorpions assumed a more defensive formation, hoping to absorb the Heat’s offensive intensity.

Laredo forced two corner kicks, nearly netting both.

By halftime, the Heat had blistered a trio of shots on goal — all three blazing whiskers wide.

Neither side broke through in the first half.

The on-pitch intensity boiled at points, foreshadowing a fierce rivalry between the South Texan teams.

They share a history of familiar faces, with former Heat forward Esteban Bayona — who was subbed into the match in the 82nd minute — now suiting up in the Scorpions’ kit.

Bayona played in Laredo from 2009-11.

The Heat (1-1) resume their PDL campaign Friday in Houston against the Texas Dutch Lions and return to their home pitch June 7 to take on the West Texas Sockers.