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Heat wins at home

Heat wins at home

Beats the Sockers 2-0

By ADAM GEIGERMAN
LAREDO MORNING  TIMES

The Laredo Heat played their third match in seven days when they hosted the Midland-Odessa Sockers at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex on Friday, and they started like fatigue was a factor.

But a second-half teaming up of veterans Johnny de Dios Ibarra and United alumnus Danny Garza hit the home team like espresso as they fought their way to a 2-0 victory.

The Heat (1-0-1, 4 points) outplayed and outpossessed the Sockers (0- 1-1, 1 point) throughout, but their finishing touch was unpolished.

Just 15 minutes into the second half, Laredo cashed in on its affinity for attacking. Ibarra scorched the far touchline, beating his mark before screaming a cross in front of the face of Allard’s goal. By the near post, Garza waited for theflick-in to net the game-winner in the 60th minute.It was Ibarra’s first league assist and Garza’s first league goal.

He scored the game-winner in Laredo’s first-round U.S. Open Cup 2-0 victory over PSA Elite on Tuesday.

In the 94th minute, Allard played up on a corner kick as the Sockers sought a miracle equalizer. But the Heat cleared the ball to Alejandro de la Garza, who ran it coast-to-coast to bury the final nail in Midland-Odessa’s coffin.

The Heat’s attacks began with a 9th-minute corner kick that bounced about the box before midfielder Greg Mulamba volleyed violently toward goal. Midland-Odessa goalkeeper Robin Allard, who cleared the danger.

Before the 20 minute mark, Laredo already tallied four corner kicks, but its best chance presented itself in the 25th minute.

Garza capitalized on a midfielder delivery to spin three Sockers defenders with flashing footwork before Allard’s glovework again saved the 0-0 scoreline.

On that attack, Heat newcomer and University of Texas-Brownsville regular Leo Medeiros tweaked his Achillies’ tendon to result in an early substitution. Alejandro de la Garza replaced him.

Although the scoresheet won’t show it, former University of the Incarnate Word striker and Heat newcomer Ljubomir Kocic forced his will up front, controlling play with his size and technical ability.

The defending Mid-South Division Heat jumped into first place with the victory, as everyone else was idle on Friday. The Austin Aztex (1-0-0, 3 points) are alone in second place after defeating Oklahoma City FC last Saturday.

The Heat now travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to face the North American Soccer League’s Strikers on Tuesday in the second round of the Open Cup. If the Heat win, they will host Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas on May 28 in their first-ever third round match.

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