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Aztex fall to Heat

Aztex fall to Heat

Heat snaps Austin's winning streak

The Laredo Heat saw its run of four consecutive Mid-South Division championships flashing before their eyes prior to Wednesday night’s Premier Development League match against division-leading Austin.

The unbeaten Aztex came into the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex eyeing a season sweep over Laredo after a 1-0 victory in Austin on May 25.

Something had to give.

By the center official’s final blow of the whistle, it was Laredo that gave Austin its first loss of the season. A 40th-minute service from Heat captain Juan de Dios Ibarra to local product Frank Lara was the difference between the division’s fiery rivals.

Lara, an LBJ alumnus and recent graduate of Southern Connecticut, muscled through Austin’s backline to explode a pointblank firing into the roof of the Aztex’s net.

The play began on a throw in from just outside the 18-yard box. The throw was volleyed to the center of the 6- yard box, where Ibarra found Lara. With the one goal and the three points it claimed for Laredo (6-2-2, 20 points), the Heat leapt into the table’s second position – good for a postseason berth if the season ended today.

Oklahoma City FC (6-3-1, 19 points) falls to third place with Laredo’s victory.

Austin (8-1-1, 25 points) saw its lead slim significantly, just five points ahead of Laredo.

The match was teetering on the edge of chaos after a shaky initial 15 minutes from both teams. Hard fouls – some resulting in the official’s whistle, some not – were exchanged throughout, especially in the final minutes of each half.

Four cards were flashed by center official, including a straight red card to Austin’s Tucker Hume in the 71st minute. Cautions were dealt to Laredo’s Ibarra and Yair Hernandez, while former Heat defender turned Aztex Leone Cruz and Aaron Guillen saw yellow as well.

Laredo’s victory maintains its five-game unbeaten streak at home, while also initiating its International Soccer Fest – a series of international friendlies between Laredo and the Under-20 teams from Mexican giants Chivas de Guadalajara, Rayados de Monterrey and Tigres de UANL.

The International Soccer Fest begins tonight at 8 p.m. with Chivas and Rayados facing off. The Heat and Tigres will play at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday’s conclusion will be a rematch of the Clausura championship between Chivas and Tigres.

The Heat return to PDL action against Oklahoma City FC at TAMIU on July 11 at 8 p.m.