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Healing Heat prepare for Lions

By Matthew Goricki
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 2:54 AM CDT
On Tuesday, Hilario Tristan was able to play with his Laredo Heat teammates for the first time in two weeks after being sidelined with a pulled hamstring.

While practicing was great for him, Tristan really just can’t wait for the team’s opener on Saturday against the Texas Dutch Lions in Houston.

“I’m excited to be back on the field,” Tristan said through a translator.

“I’m mentally prepared and excited for the first game. Hopefully we get the three points.”

Tristan, a forward from Mexico, claimed he is feeling near 100 percent and will be ready to go for the opener.

He was injured during the Heat’s 4-1 victory over the Club America under-20 team two weeks ago.

Heat midfielder Juan de Dios Ibarra, the team’s most experienced player, said Tristan recently went to Mexico to rehab his leg.

Ibarra knows how important Tristan is to the offense, which would certainly lack explosiveness without the injured forward.

Heat coach Fernando Hernandez said midfielder Elliot Huitron and forward Juan Nava have also both been battling injuries the past couple of weeks.

“One week before the first game, we have some of our players with injuries, but we are good,” Hernandez said through a translator.

“We have enough players. We will be ready for the first game on Saturday.”

Hernandez believes Huitron will be ready for the Houston game, but Nava is doubtful.

Nava hasn’t played since the Club America game.

New player

With a few of the Heat’s top players banged up, Hernandez stressed that it is important for several more to step up.

On Monday, Hernandez gladly welcomed first-year midfielder Edgar Alvarez, who just finished the school year at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Max Gunderson, a teammate of Alvarez’s at UIW, is also getting in his first full week of practice after classes ended.

Gunderson played the last two years with the Heat and also was on the field against Club America.

“The guys have welcomed me in,” Alvarez said. “I blend in good, cause they’re all technical.

I’m a technical player and I like to touch the ball. I guess I came to the best team.”

Alvarez and Gunderson helped lead UIW to the NCAA Division II tournament and their chemistry so far has transferred to playing with the Heat.

“We adapt quickly, so that’s a good thing,” Alvarez said. “We’re both technical and both fast.”