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Heat take home opener

Heat take home opener

Heat wins over Patriots 2-1

By Matthew Goricki
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:35 AM CDT
Irving Villanueva and his fellow Laredo Heat attackers certainly didn’t like being shut out in their Premier Development League opener last week.

Villanueva made sure that wouldn’t happen again, scoring the first goal in the Heat’s 2-1 victory over the El Paso Patriots in the Heat’s home opener Friday at Texas A&M International.

The Heat’s offense didn’t waste time going on the attack, with a Villanueva header going just high of the net less than four minutes into the game.

Two minutes later, Villanueva — a rookie forward from Monterrey — made his next shot count when he took a perfect leading pass from midfielder Ernesto Serrato.

Villanueva quickly sent a low shot to the right corner of the net and past the diving El Paso goalkeeper, Victor Rodriguez, to give Laredo (1-1) the one-goal edge.

“We had a few touches, passing one-two,” Villanueva said. “It was a good through pass.

That was the goal — to score in the opening minutes.

It helped us out a lot. We knew they are a good team. We wanted to finish them early.”

Serrato added what turned out to be the winning goal in the 57th minute, putting the defensive Patriots (1-1-1) in a 2-0 hole.

After a Luis de la Vega pass, Serrato kicked from the center of the field near the edge of the 18-yard box.

In the 75th minute, the Patriots finally put a shot past Heat goalkeeper Emmanuel Frias; Michael Griego advanced past the defense with only Frias to beat.

Griego’s shot was too far left, but he was able to catch up to the ball before it went out of bounds, sliding it past a sprawling Frias.

After a flurry of activity near Frias following Griego’s goal, including a couple of corner kicks, El Paso had a golden chance in the 90th minute.

A free kick from about 20 yards out by David Salas went past the defensive wall and directly into the waiting hands of Frias.

“They had a really good chance in the middle of the field,” Frias said of the 90th minute.

“I set up my wall right. I didn’t think he (Salas) was going to take it. He had already taken one.”

Just over two minutes after Villanueva’s first-half goal, El Paso nearly tied the score when defenseman Benjamin Vazquez kicked a ball from the right side of the field from 30 yards out.

The ball stayed afloat for a couple seconds, curving downward at just the right time.

Frias made a leaping effort to knock the ball down, but the ball was just out of reach.

Fortunately for Frias, the ball smacked harmlessly off the crossbar and the Heat defense was able to clear it.

Nine minutes into the contest, Villanueva fired his third shot, this time with Rodriguez stopping his straight-on attempt.

Villanueva found yet another opportunity in the 24th minute when his breakaway shot was low and just left of the goal.

Laredo, which controlled the ball for the majority of the game, had far more opportunities in the game, especially in the first half.

The Heat’s last chance in the first came in the 35th minute when de la Vega found his way through the Patriot defense and into the box.

De la Vega’s shot bounced directly off Rodriguez’s body right before the two competitors collided.

Besides Vazquez’s kick off the crossbar, the only decent chances El Paso had in the first 45 minutes came when the Patriots earned two corner kicks.

Both times, the ball was harmlessly cleared by the Heat defense, with El Paso getting no rebound opportunities.